As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to come to light across the Southern Baptist Convention, some pastors are struck with how to handle unpredictable crises, should they occur. While pastors have a unique opportunity to lead in their response to this particular type of hurting, the entire church must be prepared to live out the gospel and offer the victims a safe place of healing.
Churches have a unique opportunity to live out the gospel in their response to the hurting during these severe circumstances.
Crisis may include a wide range of severe events, but proactively preparing for any kind of crisis is vital to recovery. Regardless of the situation, churches would be wise to develop a crisis-management plan, should the worse occur. Here are a few ways for the church to begin to do that:
- Assemble a crisis-management team
This team needs to be able to work on contingency plans in a range of settings and involve a broad range of skills with represented fields such as health, personnel, counseling and facilities.
- Develop specific contingency plans
The crisis-management team should be given responsibility for the development of crisis/emergency response planning. In this process, they should:
a. Assess the range of potential crisis
b. Assess hazards in the local context
c. Assess any current contingency resources available in the church or community
d. Contact local community resources for information, resources and coordination (police, fire, health workers, hospitals, etc.)
e. Develop specific written plans and include general approaches for various situations
f. Assess medical response options
g. Assess emergency resources: power, food, heat, transportation, legal counsel, etc.
h. Identify resources within the church: staff, equipment, transportation, shelters, etc.
- Assign specific roles
Identify specific responsibilities/duties of team members, staff or volunteers with backups for each. Key personnel include: team leader, spokesperson for media, congregational/volunteer coordinator, etc.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This information was taken from the Church Policy Manual Guidebook available through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s online store. For a more detailed framework for crisis-management see pg. 75-77 from this resource.