[VIDEO] VanderLive: Crisis Management and The Church with Jay Mitchell


Jay MitchellJay Mitchell - Senior Executive Search Consultant

Jay Mitchell has over 15 years of pastoral experience, serving as Executive Pastor and leading a staff of over 150 people at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church during a period of significant growth and ministry expansion.


  • (10:50) “Why do you think it’s so uncommon for churches to not have an emergency succession plan?” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg

“The same reason why people don’t have a will. Denial... assumptions, [putting it off till later]” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg

  • (14:20)- “You should be [planning succession] at every level” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg
  • (17:30)- “We’re good at pastoral care when it comes to congregation members. But when it comes to the pastor themselves, we don't know what to do because they’re the person who’s supposed to do the caring” Tweet it #VanderLive  @vanderbloemensg
  • (21:00)-  [talking about caring for staff-member who’s had moral failure] “The redemptive message of the Cross is that the worst thing in history that ever happened became the opportunity for life to happen for all of us” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg
  • (22:00)- “The scriptures go on and on about how God has used broken people to serve in His kingdom and I think the Church has an opportunity that oftentimes it misses because it hasn’t responded in a way that is healthy or graceful” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg 
  • (23:20)-  [referring to cases of sexual misconduct] “If it becomes public, let it be public and communicate about what’s being done… things that people are talking about are not being addressed from the front, so they begin to lose trust in leadership” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg 
  • (27:58) - “Have the communication plan now before something bad happens, so you will know exactly what to do” Tweet it #VanderLive @vanderbloemensg 

Share your takeaways and tag us! @vanderbloemen

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Succession Planning -

Crisis Management - 

Core Ideas

  • Crisis management
    • Anything that disrupts the life of your organization
    • Death 
    • Moral Failure
    • Embezzlement 
    • Sexual Harassment 
    • Emergency succession planning 
    • Pastor has an illness
    • Broader Community Crisis
  • How succession/emergency planning avoids crisis
  • Common mistakes churches make:
  1. Not having planned in advance
  2. Not having a communication strategy in place for handling crisis
  • Why churches tend to not have a plan
    • Denial, assumptions, putting it off
  • Creating an emergency succession planning (do this for all staff members)
    • “Who?” Finding/appointing someone to step in
    • “What?” what is the job, how many times is this person scheduled
    • Cross-training 
  • Caring for the staff member/their family
    • Presence
    • Finances - budgeting for a plan
  • Practical ways our clients have cared for a staff-member/staff member’s family dealing with moral failure
    • Counseling 
    • Retreat center
  • Caring for victims of sexual misconduct in the Church
    • Taking it seriously
    • Conduct a thorough search
    • Not sweeping it under the rug
  • The “crisis moment”
    • Don't force healing too quickly

about jay

Jay served in the for-profit world of media, publishing and training, first as VP and General Manager of Business Operations at Sawyer Media, a venture-back start up based in San Francisco, and for 8 years as Vice President of Programming at Church Communication Network (CCN), the leader in bringing the highest quality training and content to churches across North America. He has also served as Executive Coach and Communication Consultant to CEO’s and management teams at EBay, Borland Software, and Fabsuite Software, and as a Project Manager for the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has also been a frequent presenter at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business focusing on non-profits.

With a passion for excellence and hands-on experience in building strong, dynamic and flexible organizations both in the church and in the business world, Jay brings a unique blend of pastoral and leadership skills to his role as an Executive Search Consultant. Completing over 200 searches during his 8 year tenure on our team, he has truly earned his Senior Executive Search Consultant title.


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