Surprise! That DOES Affect You.

accident-2-1474589Thankfully, all of these traumatic events – the shootings in California, the bombing in Paris, the church shootings in South Carolina – have been far away from the rest of us. Although we hurt for those who must personally deal with the loss and pain these senseless tragedies have caused, we breath a little sigh of relief that the trauma of those events cannot touch us.

But don’t get too comfortable.

Studies reveal that our brains cannot always distinguish the real from the imagined. That explains why movies scare you to death – even though you know the action is not real.

4 Ways Crisis Comes to Church (Traumatic Events)

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There are many ways crisis can come to church. In this podcast we will discuss how crisis can come to church through traumatic events.

Helping you avoid crisis when you can, manage it when you can not, and successfully build a new normal when it’s over.
http://www.crisischaplain.us 

crisis, chaplain, church, religion, self help,

Podcast #2: Four Ways Crisis Comes to Church (Administrative Failure)

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There are many ways crisis can come to church. In this podcast we will discuss how crisis can come to church through Administrative Failure.

Helping you avoid crisis when you can, manage it when you can not, and successfully build a new normal when it’s over.
http://www.crisischaplain.us 

crisis, chaplain, church, religion, self help,

Podcast #1: Four Ways Crisis Comes to Church (Overview)

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There are many ways crisis can come to church. In this podcast we will discuss four of the most common ways that crisis comes to church.

Helping you avoid crisis when you can, manage it when you can not, and successfully build a new normal when it’s over.
http://www.crisischaplain.us 

crisis, chaplain, church, religion, self help,

There Isn’t Enough Bad News!

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A huge problem for crisis response teams is that there are not enough bad events.

You never expected a crisis chaplain to make that statement, did you?

But it is true. Because community-wide tragedies do not frequently occur in most of our towns and cities, those on the front lines of emergency response must constantly scream for the attention of team members and community leaders who’ve grown a bit numb to the reality that, some day, another crisis will come. Because the last community tragedy is now a fading memory, team members lose interest in training with the team, and community leaders lose interest in helping fund the team.

But if nobody trains, and if there are no funds for supplies or training, nobody will be prepared when that next crisis hits. And, believe me, it is coming.

Join Us!

logoIn the next few weeks, this site will be filled with podcasts, videos, downloadable documents, and other resources to help folks avoid crisis when they can, successfully manage it when they cannot, and create a new normal when it is all over.

I invite you to get involved by joining our email community. If you do, I will send you our free ebook The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Keep Your Church Safe.

We promise never to overload your inbox or share your information with others, but will keep you informed on how you can protect yourself and those you serve and love from suffering unnecessary trauma.

Please join us! We promise to make it worth your time.

 

 

Managing Bad News

speaker-megafoon-1427023If some tragedy strikes your church, business, or organization, who will handle the news media’s request for comments?

You?

But what if you are unable to respond? Who will? What will they say?

Have you given it any thought? Most people have not.

We haven’t thought about it because we don’t like to think that bad things can happen to us. Some say even pondering those ideas is a sign of weakness. So, we ignore that possibility.

Another reason we haven’t given it much thought is because we aren’t aware of how a poor response can effect our business.

Sorry to say, but our world is filled with lawyers waiting to analyze every word and action, hoping to reap huge financial benefits at your expense. Even though it grates on an honest man to do so, you must carefully measure your words when your organization is going though a difficult situation.

If a person is injured in a church sponsored activity, most pastors would love to publicly state how sorry they are, how they pledge every resource to speeding that person’s recovery, and how they will do all they can to fix what caused the problem. But if that pastor isn’t careful, a lawyer will find in his statement an admission of guilt and neglect that will bring even more anguish to an already emotionally overloaded situation.

Every organization should prepare a planned statement that, in a time of crisis, will be release to the media on their behalf. This document should be reviewed and approved by your attorney so that it expresses, in a generic way, the feelings of the organization, but does not open a door that an opposing attorney might get his foot in.

Depending upon the event, it may be far better that the attorney read the statement or release it to the various news outlets. This is especially troubling to churches who want their communities to know that their love is genuine, but, unfortunately, our litigious society has forced us protect ourselves even when we would most like to show our compassion.

At your next board or officers meeting, I’d suggest you start the discussion of how your organization will handle this. It may take a few meetings before some get on board, so don’t get discouraged. Keep with it. When tragedy strikes, everyone will be glad you did.

Watch Out For Selfies!

imageIt’s been cold and icy across the eastern half of the United States. Roads are slick and everybody is headed to the store for milk and bread. I’m not sure what it is about snow and ice that make southerners want to have bread and milk in their kitchens, but they aren’t prepared for bad weather unless it is there.

Having once been young, I better understand the desire that young people have to play in the snow. I noticed on FaceBook that several churches took advantage of the recent Presidents’ Day weekend to take their youth on skiing trips. Lots of pictures of smiling young people packed into vans and headed for the slopes.

Among those were pictures of loaded vans where it was clear that no one was wearing a seatbelt. Selfies of young people piled into vehicles, sitting on their friends’ laps – more bodies inside than the vehicle was designed to carry.

Here’s the problem. If there should happen to be an accident, even a minor one, folks will point to those photos to prove that the church was not properly caring for and supervising those trusted to their care. Even if the event was on a different day, the pictures reflect that supervisors were not paying attention.

Drivers and supervisors must require that everyone in the vehicle be seated and buckled in. Regardless of the ages of the passengers, the leaders must insist that everyone cooperates.

Automobile accidents aren’t the only concern. What if, two weeks after a wonderful trip that everyone enjoyed, an angry father complains to the pastor that someone inappropriately touched his child while too many teens were packed into a van? And he pulls out all these pictures….

I realize that my suggestions will not be appreciated by everyone, and some may think we go overboard and stifle all the fun. But never before have churches been so vulnerable to lawsuits, and never has the news media been so eager to portray Christians and churches as bumbling weirdos. All it takes is one minor accident or one simple incident to ignite issues that may take a church years to overcome.

Your staff and volunteers may not think all this through. Your youth certainly won’t. It is up to church leaders to educate and train your staff to follow established procedures at all times.

And it won’t hurt for them to take a few photos, also. Pictures that show vans correctly loaded with seat belts in use. Pictures that show supervisors in the vehicle. Having these will help counter those other photos that always seem to capture everyone’s attention.

Sit down with your team and create a transportation and trip policy. Review it periodically. Use it to train your staff – and insist that all follow it.