In SBC Disaster Relief, as in other situations, authority comes with responsibility and vice versa. These twin burdens are marked in SBC ranks by the color of the cap a person wears, if that cap bears the SBC Disaster Relief logo. Colors are designated as follows:


White Cap—national director at the North American Mission Board

White Cap—state disaster relief directors

White Cap—on-site coordinators

Blue Cap—unit directors

Yellow Cap—trained volunteers

Painter’s Cap/No Logo—untrained volunteers


Understanding and accepting the chain of command, understanding and accepting one’s own role, and accepting the roles of those with other responsibilities are essential to a volunteer’s preparation. It is also helpful to be familiar with the general duties of the role immediately above or below the role the worker is currently performing.


Inefficiency and dissension occur when, knowingly or not:


1.  Someone, assigned to a role:

      a.   Fails to do what is expected.

      b.   Creates resentment by the way the duties are performed.

2.  Someone, without authorization:

      a.   Takes over duties assigned to another person.

      b.   Criticizes another person’s performance.


In either of the above examples, at the bottom of the problem is lack of preparation:


1.    Spiritual preparation - affects a person’s attitudes, how one performs his duties, and how he judges another person’s performance.

2.    Mental preparation - affects knowledge, what one knows about the assignment, the general situation, fellow workers, and the community in which he/she is serving.

3.    Physical preparation - affects strengths and skills, the ability to perform the tasks assigned to the role.


Decision-making takes place at every level of the chain of command. Decisions at the white cap and blue cap levels affect broader areas of the operation. But decisions by unit directors and yellow caps more directly and intimately affect the persons for whom the help is intended. Who can say which role on the disaster relief team is the most important?