How To Serve Your Church Staff In An Emergency
By: Gail Mayes February 27, 2013
Pastors are well adept at receiving calls from members of their church and community when personal emergencies occur, but how should they react when a family or medical emergency occurs to someone on their church staff?
1) Lead in such a way that your church staff knows that you care about them and their family so that when an emergency transpires they know that they can come to you and receive grace in their time of need.
2) Keep confidentiality if it is requested. Sometimes individuals want to wait for test results or clarity before they inform their colleagues of their crisis. It is vital that you keep their trust by not disclosing the reason for their absence.
3) Allow the employee to disclose information to the staff in their time and in their way. Perhaps the individual would prefer to make the announcement themselves in a church staff meeting or maybe they want the Senior Pastor or Executive Pastor to announce it in their absence. Maybe they need you to help them craft an email. Come up with a solution that works best for everyone involved.
4) Be flexible with work. For some individuals on your church staff, work may be therapeutic, and they will want to carry on with their duties while the situation resolves itself. For others, work will be impossible between doctor visits and hospital stays. Be as flexible and generous as possible with your church staff and trust that when the crisis stage is over, they will return to work full-time.
5) Expect a recovery period. Even after the initial crisis is resolved, expect that there will be a recovery period. Whether it is follow-up doctor appointments, counseling, or visits from family members, be as generous as possible with recovery time.
6) Offer prayers. Don’t just say you will pray for the individual on your church staff that is in crisis, actually do it. Pray for them, tell them that you are praying for them and their family. This is a wonderful way to encourage the person in crisis.
7) Provide practical help. When crises occur, most Christians go straight for the casseroles…and that’s great! No one wants to think about making dinner when they are worried for their health or the health of a loved one. Take meals or give them a gift certificate. Recruit the other members of your church staff to babysit or provide rides to and from the hospital. Don’t forget that sometimes individuals in crisis need to forget that they are in crisis. Give movie theater gift cards or Red Box subscriptions. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.
Overall, ask yourself, if I were going through this hardship, what would serve me well? Cultivate a culture of servanthood among your staff to support each other in times of crisis.
Has your church staff ever been through a crisis together? How did you support each other?