No matter how much time you spend planning and perfecting your church’s disaster response plan, that plan won’t do you much good if you can’t communicate it to your church during the crisis. Crisis communication is an essential element of disaster ministry, one that requires planning and training so you’re ready to go when crisis hits.
Several years ago, I saw how firsthand how important it is for church leaders to be ready to communicate in a crisis. I was visiting a church when a bad storm with strong winds knocked out the power during the service. At first, the pastor tried to awkwardly keep preaching as the generator struggled to start. After a few minutes, he quickly ended his message and walked off the stage. Another pastor, obviously caught off guard, walked up and abruptly ended the service. No one addressed the blackout, and no one provided instructions on what to do next. Some people were scared and started to panic. Others hopped into their cars and drove off, only to return moments later because of the dangerous weather outside. Those who did manage to keep driving eventually returned as well, because of a downed tree in the road. It’s a small miracle no one got hurt.
A little bit of preparation now goes a long way in making sure everything goes more smoothly at your church when disaster hits. To begin creating an effective crisis communication plan for your church, your leadership team will need to walk through the following questions.