Many crisis response plans I’ve seen are well-written and crafted to cover just about everything you’d expect to be included. All of the bits and pieces are woven together into a useful plan. Except for one thing.
People creating crisis response plans often leave out one critical component.
They make sure that everyone effected by a traumatic event receives the care they need and deserve — except for one overlooked group.
When something bad occurs and people scramble to care for those who’ve been injured, we usually call the job complete when the last injury has been assessed and assigned to the person who can fix it. But those who’ve provided the care need an opportunity to recover when their tasks are complete.
When building a crisis response plan for your church, make sure you include care for the caregivers. This will usually include the church leadership who managed the reaction to the event, who bore the brunt of public scrutiny, and who scrambled to make sure that every individual who was touched by this event received the care they needed.
When it’s all over, this group needs someone to minister to them.
Different strategies are available. Many communities have trained CISM teams that will respond when invited. They will know how to appropriately assist your people. It’s good to get to know these folks ahead of time so that, when tragedy strikes, you know who to call.
Some resist participating in these type of after care events. They feel doing so is a sign or weakness or displays a lack of faith in God. Neither is true. Tell them that, while they may not need the assistance, someone else may. All need to participate to make sure everybody receives the care they need. You may have to push hard to make it happen, but it will be worth it.
At the very least, bring your people together for a meal in a relaxing environment where they can visit together without being rushed. As they visit, move around the room and observe every person. Spend extra time with those who seem most disturbed by the recent events. Continue to check on them every day or two until it is obvious that they are back to normal.
Whether it is a natural disaster, auto crash, staff moral failure, or a lapse in security, make sure you provide care for those who are tasked with taking care of the victims. Your crisis response plan is not complete until it includes providing care for your caregivers.
If you have questions or need help putting together your own response plan, leave a comment or email us. We’ll be glad to help!