Church Crisis Relief Plan

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					Church Crisis Relief Plan

    Preparing Your Church to
        Respond to Crisis

                 Ron Richardson
          Chaplain Services International
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.
   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
   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

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.

   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
    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

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
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
    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
4.   Access reports on national charities at
3. Emergency Board
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,
     the search engine that powers and 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
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
   The Salvation Army: USA National Headquarters,
    P.O. Box 269, Alexandria, Virginia 22313, United
    States (off) 703-684-5500 (fax) 703-684-3478 (web)

   The American Red Cross Disaster Services:

   American Blood Centers: Call 1-888-BLOOD- 88 or
4. Relief
   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:
   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
    Denominational Agencies
   Assemblies of God Disaster Relief:
    helps rebuild Assemblies of God

   Convoy of Hope: Contact David
    Auterson at
    (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:

   General Council of The Assemblies of God:

   The American Red Cross:

   International Critical Incident Stress Foundation:

   The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress:

   Citizen Corps:
6. Mobilize
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
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
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
    Offer information and help for Primary Victims
   United States Justice Department: Victims of Crime,
   Crisis Counseling: Provide emergency counseling by
    trained counselors for people who have been
   Victim Information: Publish a list of other
    organizations people can call for a variety of basic
8. Minister to
    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
    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

   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
   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
9. Support United
   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
   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
   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