In the initial hours after Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle, church leaders in the hardest hit areas and in nearby Pensacola have been some of the first responders to help assess needs, assist those who chose to ride out the storm, and begin to clear debris.
Pastor Buford Lipscomb leads Liberty Network International, an apostolic network of ministries and churches based in Pensacola, and has used his contacts with pastors in the Panhandle to quickly reach out and provide early help.
Lipscomb told CBN News "we believe it's our local people and the body of Christ that can get there before the government does and can make a difference."
Lipscomb says a number of men in local churches have experience with hurricane relief and are able to get in right away to some of the hardest hit areas.
"We have a lot of men that are going just to clear roads and clear trees off of houses. People are still trapped in their homes," he said.
Pensacola is 90 minutes from some of the most affected areas and has turned into a staging city for many ministry organizations and humanitarians groups said Lipscomb.
"We were spared a lot so we're trying to act as a coordinating, staging area for a lot of organizations," he said.