We never see them coming; or if we do, we only have moments to get ready and respond. Crises and tragedies slap us in the face at the worst moments. They hurt. They sting. They can bring everything to a sudden halt. Our lives can seem to be in limbo. Our communities are devastated and in need of support. Are we ready to support them? Dealing with sudden or even expected crises can be challenging. But what makes the load easier to carry is preparation.
“Nothing brings peace, like clarity.”
How clear are our processes for times like these? What systems do we have in place for when tragedy occurs? What infrastructure needs to be established to bring stability in times of crisis? Jesus!
Yes. Jesus is our solid ground when life gets shaky, but He is not necessarily what we’re going for here. We may have grown accustomed to hearing our kids give that answer when we ask them how the kid’s gathering was, but we may get blank stares if we give that answer when community members come to our ministries for help during crises.
Having plans in place provides so much comfort. What plans can we establish to be prepared for the next catastrophe? Use the following suggestions to get started:
Establish a Team
Like the rest of our ministries, programs and events, someone oversees them. Take a moment to think through who would be the best leaders for when crises occur. This can be a team or an individual, depending on the size of your ministry.
Our staff and community need to know who to contact when _________ (fill in the blank). If you have a receptionist, they will be so glad to know whom to filter certain calls. Also, this does not have to be a staff member. You may have high capacity leaders ready to take the lead on this. I do, however, recommend at least one staff member for this person or team to connect with.
This is a big next step because we do not want to develop a plan ourselves, if we can help with one that is already working. Are there other groups, organizations or ministries in your area that you can partner with? Search online for city or county resources lists. Make calls to neighboring churches, nonprofits or government organizations.
We know that water, food and clothing are common needs when natural disasters strike, but what other things will you need? Beyond acts of nature, what is needed amidst other tragedies? Be specific to your community. Who do you need? To create this list, let’s ask ourselves, “What happened last time? What did we need but did not have?
Find the People
Once you have determined the services you will provide and the resources you will need, find the businesses and professionals to that offer them. I also like learning about the businesses that already exist in-house. Ask around to those who regularly attend your churches.
Who is a carpenter? Who owns the village market? What healthcare professionals do we know? Who cooks or owns a restaurant? Who counsels? Where can we get bulk supplies? Connect a person or place to each service and resource.
Many of our buildings and parking lots are empty during the week. Do we have space or can we create space to store resources? Are there rooms to temporarily house people? How can we use our parking lots and ministry vehicles? Maybe our families need a change of scenery after losing loved ones. Can our spaces be accessible during and outside office hours?
Finally, think money. Are there funds dedicated for such emergencies? If not, consider making one. For one reason or another, someone may need help financially. Being prepared as a community allows us to help more efficiently.Being prepared as a community allows us to help more efficiently. Click To Tweet
I know this is not much, but I hope it at least encourages you to start thinking about what to do when a crisis happens. As the church, we can lead the way in what it looks like to be ready to serve the community in all times. We put so much time into making Easter and Christmas a success, so let us do the same for when our community needs us in the worst of times.
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