If you work with teens or kids crisis moments are things you work hard to avoid. We have policies, guidelines, safeguards, and checklists but still if you are reaching people then crisis will knock on your door from time to time. An accident, a volunteer mistake, a natural disaster, or a student that makes a terrible choice can all place our team right in the middle of a crisis. Crisis will come but the most important question is how we respond and lead in the middle of the situation. When crisis strikes here are a few guiding thoughts that our team tries to embrace.
- confront // In crisis situations your team needs a leader and needs wise decisions made. The quicker the issue is confronted the better control you will have in influencing the rest of the process.
- console // So many times in a crisis situation people simply need another person to listen and be fully present. People impacted by crisis have to know we care and we will make things right. We can’t take away what went down but we can make sure people impacted feel loved and cared for.
- connect with parents // For those of us who lead children’s or teen ministries we always have to keep the role of the parent in mind when crisis strikes. If something goes wrong make sure you are connecting with parents ASAP. With text messaging, tweeting, and Facebook nothing can be kept quiet. We never need to keep parents out of the loop. Connect with parents fast and make sure they hear the true story.
- clean up // With crisis you always get to clean up what went wrong. This is the stage where we have to process what happened and how to make sure it does not happen again. Clean up also involves making sure your church leadership is in the loop about what went wrong and what the correction was. Always make sure your supervisors are in the loop and involved with every aspect of cleaning up the mess. Never try to “clean up” alone.
- correct // Always make sure you allow crisis to make your ministry stronger by making the right corrections. We learn then we work to make things better and more efficient.