"Church Crisis Relief Plan"
Church Crisis Relief Plan Preparing Your Church to Respond to Crisis Ron Richardson Chaplain Services International www.operationcsi1.com In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Americans pulled together in silent acts of heroism. Such heroism is also seen as people respond to needs arising from natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters. Research and practical experience shows 94% of Americans believe in God or in some superior power. The majority of those experiencing crisis will turn to their faith for comfort and support. Therefore, many will turn to God and the Church for practical assistance, comfort, and questions of eternal importance. Warning! Government officials regularly warn us of the possibility of more conflict on the horizon. With these possibilities in mind, along with the unpredictability of nature, the Church must be prepared to respond to the needs of their community ► not only in a spiritual way, ► but also with practical means, ► showing the love of Christ. Practical Resource The Church Crisis Relief Plan will help you mobilize your church and members. It is a starting point outlining suggestions for a ten-step plan of action This plan will guide you in assisting local emergency personnel, victims, and their families within the first week of a crisis. Ten Step Plan 1. Inform the Church 2. Call to Prayer 3. Emergency Board Meeting 4. Contact Local Relief Agencies 5. Resource and Mobilize Lay Ministries 6. Blood Drive Participation 7. Gather Practical Response Items 8. Minister to Primary and Secondary Victims 9. Support United Community Efforts 10. Listen to Those Around You 1. Inform the Church Communicate the facts clearly and simply. Use a Phone tree to inform members of the situation, scheduled prayer meetings, and that the church board is determining how the church will respond. Inform the church of the Board’s action plan and explain how they can participate. Keep members updated about progress with their action plan and how they are needed. 2. Call to Prayer Call each family of your church to begin to pray for the situation. Use your phone tree to continue providing updates and new needs for prayer. Encourage people to pray for 1. People affected by the crisis 2. Emergency Responders 3. That God will be glorified through it all Praise Although it is difficult, start with praise. Focus on God's character. Praise God that He is sovereign; that He has ultimate control over all, and that nothing takes Him by surprise. (Isaiah 45:5-7). Petition / Intercession Ask God to use this situation to bring spiritual openness to those affected by the tragedy. Ask God to guide and bless the relief ministry of the church. Ask God to empower the helpers with a powerful witness. Ask God to prevent the enemy's attempt to escalate unresolved anger or guilt loss. Petition / Intercession Ask God to focus the minds of public officials on the need for prayer. Ask God to equip leaders to mentor and minister to people. Ask God—for yourself and others—for a passion and love that drives out fear. Ask God to give you acts of kindness, compassion, and friendship to incorporate into your life in response to the crisis. Thanksgiving Thank God that the enemy has made a tactical error, and that God will use for good what Satan has intended for harm. Thank God for the people who will be drawn to seek God because the overwhelming nature of the tragedy. Thank God for a vivid reminder of your own mortality and vulnerability, asking Him to prepare your heart and spirit for a faithful response when you are faced with tragedy. 3. Emergency Board Meeting Determine practical ways you can respond. Have people share ideas, then determine which ones are most feasible and beneficial for the situation. 1. Have your group list needs to address. Come to a consensus by vote on the most needful problem. 2. Next, list possible solutions; form a consensus on the most feasible solution. 3. Emergency Board Meeting 3. List ways to implement the solution; form a consensus on an implementation plan. 4. List team leaders and specific duties they will perform to help the team implement the plan. 5. Enlist people to assist the team leaders. 3. Emergency Board Meeting 6. Create an "Action Plan Status Board" so you can check off items as they are completed and be aware of items that need extra attention. 7. Set a time schedule for completing the project. 8. Set periodic meetings to assess progress and make needful adjustments to the plan. 9. Have a final evaluation meeting to determine the success of the plan. 10. Determine whether the operation was successful or is a project that should be continued. If the project is completed, go back to step 1. 3. Emergency Board Meeting Donations: Appoint a team of leaders to research credible donor recipients. Begin with the District Resource Center, then contact local agencies. Give this information to your people so they can contribute through the church. Here are some tips. 1. Beware of pressure for on-the-spot donations. 2. Do not give cash. 3. Ask how much of your donation will be used for relief and how much for other programs or administration. 4. Access reports on national charities at www.give.org 3. Emergency Board Meeting 5. Don't give out your credit card number. 6. Ask for written information that describes the charity's programs and finances. 7. Check if the organization is on www.guidestar.org, the search engine that powers www.helping.org and www.justgive.org. Guidestar lists over 700,000 charities that have 501-C3 status. These groups have charitable status from the IRS so donations to them are tax-deductible. Budgeting: Ask your board to provide finances for educational materials and resources to help respond to the need. 4. Relief Agencies Contact local, state, and national relief agencies to determine the most urgent needs and partner with these organizations to provide volunteers, physical needs, shelter, clothing, or food. 4. Relief Agencies The Salvation Army: USA National Headquarters, P.O. Box 269, Alexandria, Virginia 22313, United States (off) 703-684-5500 (fax) 703-684-3478 (web) http://www.salvationarmyusa.org The American Red Cross Disaster Services: http://www.redcross.org American Blood Centers: Call 1-888-BLOOD- 88 or visit www.americasblood.org 4. Relief Agencies Chaplains Programs: Many cities have police or fire services chaplains accustomed to dealing with crisis. Chaplain Services International provides Chaplain Basic Training and Certified Crisis Intervention training. Website: www.OperationCSI.org. Large Law Enforcement Agencies: Many large metropolitan areas have highly trained teams that can offer training and assistance. Most rural areas have no services for themselves. Denominational Agencies Assemblies of God Disaster Relief: helps rebuild Assemblies of God churches http://ag.org/benevolences/disaste rrelief/index_disaster.cfm Convoy of Hope: Contact David Auterson at email@example.com (212) 786-0674 6. Mobilize Ministries Enable lay ministries and leaders with information to deal with crisis reactions. Valuable information can be found from these resources: U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov General Council of The Assemblies of God: www.ag.org The American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org International Critical Incident Stress Foundation: http://www.icisf.org The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress: http://www.aaets.org Citizen Corps: http://www.CitizenCorps.gov. 6. Mobilize Ministries Bible studies and small groups: Take a short departure from your regularly scheduled topics and provide Bible studies for all ages that focus on a biblical response to crisis, tragedy, mourning, and anger. Organize your church’s talent pool: Food preparation and service, building trades, mechanical trades, care givers, business people, general services. Partner with other churches and Christian organizations: Organize a Care Team ministry by networking with other churches, businesses, service organizations, and schools willing to organize their resources and work on cooperative community efforts. 6. Mobilize Ministries Make your facility available: With some preparation and basic training your church facility can be designated a Red Cross Emergency Center. If a church has this designation and the pastor is set up as the Center Manager, then the church is free to not only meet the immediate physical needs of those who come but they are also free to help people with their spiritual needs as well, something that Red Cross does not address. Become part of the big picture: Volunteer your services to help your community draft a disaster/crisis response plan. It would include such considerations as emergency medical needs, emergency housing / shelter, emergency food and clothing, other logistics needs like security, traffic control, and networking with regional agencies for crisis response. Critical Incident Intervention Counseling services: Make a list of teams and professionals available in your area. 7. Practical Response Items After contacting the appropriate agencies to determine what is needed: Coordinate collection: Gather resources to meet existing physical needs. This could include things, such as clothing , blankets, food, first aid supplies, coats, shoes, baby items, toys. Centralize the reception location: Have families bring supplies to church to be taken to a relief agency at one time. Network with other churches and with the community to improve response. 8. Minister to Victims Offer information and help for Primary Victims United States Justice Department: Victims of Crime, 1-800-331-0075 Crisis Counseling: Provide emergency counseling by trained counselors for people who have been traumatized. Victim Information: Publish a list of other organizations people can call for a variety of basic needs. 8. Minister to Victims Offer help for Family Members of Victims Expressions of love and sympathy: Cards, letters, and drawings. Include work done by children and youth. Follow-up care: Place victims/families on your calendar for regular follow-up. Persons who have lost a spouse often experience adverse physical symptoms and/or emotional symptoms years after the event. 8. Minister to Responders Remember First and Second Responders Expressions of appreciation: Send cards, letters, and drawings to military, rescue and relief workers involved with the aftermath of the situation and to their families. Secondary personnel: Simple acts of kindness can be expressed in many ways. Cookies, smiles, say “thank you,” offer help. Remember those who are cleaning up after a crisis have families and are concerned and affected by the situation, and appreciate a friendly face and a warm smile. 9. Support United Efforts Assist in local meetings or gatherings to show unity of the entire community, city hall, business, civic groups, and churches. Build relationships with the emergency service professionals in your community BEFORE a crisis happens and your group will be some of the first called to help. Pastors and churches have to get out of their buildings and bridge relationships for the future. The police and fire departments are wonderful places to start. 9. Support United Efforts Encourage your people to take personal responsibility to bring hope to your community. Put a visual reminder in your home or yard reminding your family and friends to pray. Have family prayer asking for God’s help and hope for your friends, family and country. Talk with your children. Give them the assurances they need and a chance to ask tough questions. 9. Support United Efforts Invite people to join you in church. Give people copies of sermons that address the crisis from a perspective of hope and faith. Mobilize neighbors to light a candle in their windows at the same time each night. 10. Listen to those around you Listen to and watch the people around you. Your community might or might not be located within the emergency area. Secondary victims occur everywhere. Be ready to assist and serve them in whatever way necessary. Understand that different types of stress, trauma, fatigue, and victims will be present. 10. Listen to those around you Four types of stress: Eustress: The good stress that keeps us challenged Occupational Stress: Rest; take breaks, or a sabbatical. Cumulative Stress: A series of small crises that can accumulate and bring about an overload condition. Critical Incident Stress: Our natural response to an abnormal situation that evokes a strong emotional, behavioral, physical or cognitive response. Crisis Intervention Counseling is strongly recommended. 10. Listen to those around you Secondary Trauma is experienced by caregivers (police, fire, EMT, chaplains, pastors, or other volunteers) when dealing with a traumatized person either at the scene or elsewhere. Secondary Trauma Victims may also include witnesses of traumatic events, friends of victims, children who witness Domestic Violence 10. Listen to those around you Vicarious Victimization is the trauma we experience as we watch, hear, or read the news of a terrible event (e.g., too much attention to the news concerning the terrorist attack and/or some other traumatic event). WARNING: We must be careful how much of this tragic news we allow our children to view. 10. Listen to those around you Use good trauma and crisis listening skills. Do not assume you know what a person needs before you listen to the person’s story. Ask a few simple questions to help the person tell his or her story. 1. Where were you when this event happened? 2. How have you been feeling since the event? 3. What can we do to move on from here? 10. Listen to those around you Listening Skills you can use to be a better listener. Don’t assume you know how the person is feeling or thinking. Listen with full attention. Do not begin to think of your response while the person is talking to you. Repeat or restate the person’s comments to make sure you have heard the person correctly. Do not feel you must give an answer to everything a person says. Many people just need to talk. Thank You