Crisis Management for Churches


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What to do when your church is facing a crisis.

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Crisis Management for Churches

  1. 1. ==== ====The Church Consultants are able to assist a church through crisis situations. Their experienceand understanding of the various situations within the church that can harm ministry areinvaluable. Find out what are some of the crises that are dealt with by churches and how to dealwith them. ==== It is Rev. Chuck Clarences first day on the job at New Peaceful Rest Church. He is the newpastor. Things started off good. However, things slowly deteriorated over the weeks ahead. Thetrustee board removed Rev. Clarences computer from his office. The deacon board beganattacking his character during business meetings. The choir started walking out on his sermons. Itwas now a war zone. The churchs mission was to save lost souls, yet it was now Rev. Clarencessoul that needed to be saved.The Difficult ProblemHow do todays pastors avoid burnout with their demanding jobs? Expectations for pastorscontinue to rise as churches attempt to apply secular standards to religious organizations.Trustees want to use management by objectives to produce high performance organizations. Infact, church members want to evaluate the pastors performance on secular criteria such asmembership growth, financial increase, and the organizations influence in local politics andcommunities. These new demands are accelerating the departure of pastors. Over the years,many churchgoers have forgotten or ignored the respect due to todays shepherd. Hebrew 13:7states, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word ofGod: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." Pastor firings, congregationalconflicts, and societys expectations of religious institutions are placing todays pastors at adisadvantage. Pastors are increasingly getting burnout. Joseph Tolbert, pastor of Foster ChapelChurch, has been in the ministry since 1997 and has shepherded over three years. He maintainsthat some burnout is due to a lack of clear focus: "We need to understand that the ministry isbigger than us. Some people lose focus and get burned out." Disruptive forces are wrecking havocon Americas churches. Can effective preachers afford to be burned out and lose their God givenfocus?The Burnout FactorsAccording to a 1984 study on forced terminations in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1056pastors were being terminated annually. In fact, 72,000 pastors were fired across America in 1999.According to PastorCare Network, the vocational life of a pastor has gone from 20 years (1980) to14 years (1995). In fact, 50% of pastors who work fulltime quit in five years.What causes pastor burnout? Burnout is defined as a mental condition that involves long-termexhaustion and diminished interest in a work task or occupation. There are a variety of things suchas personal conflict that would create an unhealthy environment. According to PastorCare
  2. 2. Network, 90% of pastors work more than 46 hours per week, and 75% of pastors surveyed reporta significant stress-related crisis at least once a month. Richard S. Brown Jr., pastor of the PayneAvenue Missionary Baptist Church, has seen what burnout can do to a minister.Being a son of a prominent pastor in his area, Brown sees how the demands of shepherding aflock can frustrate a pastor. Brown explains, "We [pastors] dont take care of ourselves. Ourministries can lose energy. If we are not focused, we can lose sight of the Lord." Dean Hoge andJacqueline Wenger, authors of Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry,found the following common issues emerging: (a) preference for a different type of ministry, (b) theneed to focus more on family, (c) conflict in the congregation, (d) conflict with denominationalleaders, (e) burnout or discouragement, (f) sexual misconduct, and (g) marital problems. Thesesignals mark an emergence of a more selfish society where "What have you done for me lately?"is the proverbial theme. Many followers dont understand the physical, mental, and spiritualdemands of shepherding a congregation as long as their spiritual welfare is addressed. Thefollowing pastoral strategies should be considered to avoid burnout:Understand your personal needs as it relates to body, mind, and spirit.Develop a personal support network. Sadly, 70% of the clergymen surveyed said they do not havea close friend.Set aside time for meditation, bible study, and devotion to strengthening your spirituality.Find capable leaders in your church where you can delegate activities.Develop a regular exercise routine and eat right for your health.Use church conflict for growth opportunities. Dont take things too personal.Determine to keep a positive attitude even in the midst of confusion.A Positive FutureTodays pastors must rethink how they care for their physical and spiritual welfare. Great AmericanThomas Paine once said, "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtaintoo cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the manthat can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow." This article highlightedthat todays pastors face sever challenges, but they can prevent burnout by implementing personalstrategies for securing rest and renewal. If pastors want to survive the hectic pace of todays living,then something must change. Can churches move ahead without good shepherds?I have my doubts---biblically speaking. Hebrews 10:14 states, "How shall they believe in Him ofwhom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" Therefore, pastorshave a divine mission to carry out their calling. However, they must be both diligent and careful asit relates to avoiding burnout. Former pastor Robert McGee of Foster Chapel Church maintainsburnout is just part of the job. McGee has the distinction of being at the same church for over 40years. McGee says, "All pastors at some point get burned out because of the nature of the work
  3. 3. spiritually." With the increase of resignations and terminations in America, pastors need to take anactive part in developing strategies that promote their healthy body, mind, and spirit. Therefore,pastors do not have to be victims of burnout; they can be proactive and champions of their ownwell-being.Daryl D. Green, who is an international business strategist, has over 19 years of managementexperience, dealing with a variety of million-dollar projects. He is considered one of the savviestemerging writers of his generation. Mr. Green is a nationally syndicated columnist, the author ofseveral books, and has had more than 100 articles published globally. He has been noted andquoted by USA Today and Associated Press. Get a copy of his ebook, Book Publishing forProfessionals on or contact him on http://www.darylgreen.orgArticle Source: ====The Church Consultants are able to assist a church through crisis situations. Their experienceand understanding of the various situations within the church that can harm ministry areinvaluable. Find out what are some of the crises that are dealt with by churches and how to dealwith them. ====