Be a Lighthouse Host Church

When disaster strikes close to home, will your church be a light in the darkness? Lighthouse Host Churches are close to areas affected by disaster.

They act as a home base in the days following a disaster by housing volunteers, storing equipment, and sharing information and insight about the community with Samaritan’s Purse staff.

Why be a Lighthouse Host Church?


Disasters provide a unique opportunity for local churches to be directly involved and engaged in sharing the love of Christ, and building relationships with neighbors who may never otherwise enter a church. Long after the cleanup has ended and recovery begins, the church will be there for those who have been affected by the disaster.


The greatest impact is often realized by those who have been so affected from the efforts of Samaritan’s Purse, either through receiving help or volunteering, that they make a decision for Christ. When this occurs, Samaritan’s Purse will seek to connect that person to the Host Church, which can provide follow-up and discipleship.

Serve your community.

Lighthouse Host Church volunteers have a special chance to respond to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs within their communities. Rallying around hurting neighbors in their time of need can bring great purpose and fulfillment to volunteers who seek to serve others in Jesus’ name.

Ideal qualities of a Lighthouse Host Church

  • Church should be within 50 km of the affected area
  • Church property must be large enough to facilitate the parking of a semi-tractor trailer that operates as our Disaster Relief Unit, a large trailer equipped with tools and equipment.
  • Can offer electrical access from the church to the Disaster Relief Unit. A licensed electrician, where necessary, will perform the task at the expense of Samaritan’s Purse.
  • Can offer high-speed Internet from the church, allowing for a local phone line to be initialized in the Disaster Relief Unit, thereby giving the public a local phone number for the duration of the response.
  • Can offer washrooms, shower and kitchen facilities for volunteers and Samaritan’s Purse staff to use (if not available, we may arrange for additional trailers to come to the site).
  • Can offer temporary accommodation facilities for volunteers and staff, either in the church or through billeting.

Frequently asked questions about becoming a Lighthouse Host Church

Who does Samaritan’s Purse serve during a disaster response?

Our priority is to serve the most vulnerable first, including low-income individuals, the elderly, those without insurance, veterans, and those who serve in public service such as fire, police, and medical response as they often are not able to be home as a result of their duties. We help with tasks such as possession recovery, mud-outs (after flooding), ash sifting (after fires), debris removal and more. Upon completion of all the work at each home, a Bible (signed by every volunteer that worked at the home) is presented to the homeowner.

Where does Samaritan’s Purse recruit its volunteers?

Volunteers are recruited both from within the affected community and Lighthouse Sending Churches from across the country. Lighthouse Host Churches play a critical role in getting the word out to their congregation as well as other churches in the community that volunteers are needed.

Will it cost my church anything to be a Lighthouse Host Church?

Samaritan’s Purse never wants to be a burden to the Lighthouse Host Church and for that reason, we will provide funds to help supplement the additional costs incurred by the church as a hosting facility.

Does Samaritan’s Purse charge residents for work done in response to a disaster?

No. Because of volunteers and donors like you, Samaritan’s Purse can provide services at no cost to the homeowner, assisting them in their ongoing recovery.

How can Samaritan’s Purse help us be prepared if a disaster should happen in our area?

We can share our experience with disaster responses and help your church develop a proactive emergency plan. This will make your church less vulnerable and better positioned to serve your community when the need arises.

What kind of training and oversight is given to volunteers?

Samaritan’s Purse provides all necessary tools, training and safety equipment to carry out our relief efforts. All volunteer work teams are supervised by a trained Samaritan’s Purse Team Leader.

How long does Samaritan’s Purse stay in an area affected by disaster?

The average duration of deployment is usually three to six weeks, with determinations made at the local level whether or not to stay longer depending on the needs of the community.

If we want to apply to be a Lighthouse Sending Church, what happens next?

Ensure your church leadership understands and supports our program, then contact us. We will review your request, and if approved, an acceptance letter will be sent out to your church. We will then invite you to participate in future disaster responses as needs arise.

What if the disaster takes place in a town or city far away from us?

Even if your church never needs to serve as a Lighthouse Host Church, we are also interested in recruiting churches to serve as Lighthouse Sending Churches. These churches identify volunteers within their congregation who are willing to travel across Canada and serve others in a time of disaster. Learn more here.


Still have questions? Please call us at 1-800-663-6500 and ask to speak to the Canadian Disaster Relief Manager or email

Lighthouse Sending Churches

Is your church ready to make an impact elsewhere in Canada? Lighthouse Sending Churches organize teams within their congregation that are willing to volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse, and then send these teams to disaster responses across the country.

Volunteer internationally

Each year, Samaritan’s Purse takes church groups and volunteers on short-term mission trips around the world. Visit our Mission Trip Projects page and see what upcoming trip opportunities are available.

“This disaster was able to bring Christ to so many people that maybe would have never had the opportunity to hear that before.”

~Jeremy, church minister

Stories about our Canadian Disaster Responses

Other ways you can get involved