4 Ways Church Leaders Can Respond to Crisis

Growing churches care about their communities. When a crisis hits, church pastors who engage in leadership training will have a plan. By equipping people to respond with compassion and practical assistance, you can be a light to your community. | By Tom Pounder

As much as we would all like to avoid it, the reality is that tragedies happen quite regularly in our communities. They don't have to be huge tragedies like horrible shootings. They can be deadly car accidents, suicides, or something else entirely. Tragedies come big and small, but they always affect the community in some way.

So, what can your church do to minister to the community in the midst of tragedies? Here are 4 practical ideas:

1. Share counseling options. 

You can offer in-person counseling and online options. Whether you provide counseling at the church, or you refer people to trained therapists, make sure that the community knows that the church is there to offer practical assistance.

Compile a list of Christian organizations that will partner with you to minister to the community. I have included a list of counseling services at the end of this article. Reputable Christian counseling organizations abound, and their faith-based guidance can be especially helpful for communities in crisis.

2. Offer resources. 

Depending on what kinds of tragedy your community is experiencing, there are different resources that your church can offer. For instance, parents may need guidance as they talk to their children about violence. 

Look for practical resources, then train church leaders so they know how to talk about trauma and grief. 

The more you can equip others during this time, the more assistance you can offer the community. 

3. Offer a Place to Congregate. 

When tragedies happen, people like to congregate. Open your church building. People need to know that your church is a safe place to gather. 

Invite grief share counselors and other support professionals to join you. Partner with them to help individuals and families process the pain. 

Train key leaders to facilitate support meetings through Zoom or Google Meet. This provides people an opportunity to connect and share in a digital forum.

4. Mobilize Leaders. 

Host a vigil and encourage church leaders to attend. Sometimes, hurting people don't want to come to a church. They still need support, and a vigil can be a nonthreatening way to minister the love of Jesus.

Educate your leaders so they know what to do when tragedy hits the community. Create and maintain a call list with action steps to mobilize teams quickly.

Whether meeting with people one-on-one, in groups at the church, at vigils, or online, church leaders can offer life-giving help. 

As devastating as tragedies can be, God can use your church to bring good from heartache. These 4 tips can help your leaders respond appropriately to a crisis. May God guide you as you support others and help them experience Christ's love and care.

Additional Resources

  • Counseling services: 

These online options include several faith-based organizations that you can recommend to your congregation and to people in the community.

  • Family, Church, and Community Resources: 

These resources can help those working in Family Ministry. 

These resources are designed to help the whole Church


This article originally appeared on The Church Digital website on June 1, 2022. Learn more about Tom Pounder and check out his weekly podcast.

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