Remember the BP oil spill in the Gulf? It was a textbook case of bad crisis public relations. As I read about it the thought occurred to me that the vast majority of pastors and ministry leaders don’t think disaster could ever strike. They feel as long as they stay focused on God and lead their church well, they can avoid bad publicity or some other crisis. But the truth is, bad stuff happens – and often, it’s absolutely nothing you can control. Just in my career working with churches and ministry leaders, here’s a handful crises I’ve seen:
— A trusted church staff member is caught embezzling tens of thousands of dollars out of the church bank account.
— A long time usher was pocketing cash out of the offering while he was supposed to be counting it. Over a couple of years, it added up to a great deal.
— A pastoral staff member was arrested for having an online relationship with a 13 year old. What he didn’t know was what he “thought” was a 13 year old, was actually a cop. He was arrested as a pedophile on his way to a rendezvous.
— A mission organization a church had supported turned out to be abusing orphans in their care.
— A ministry leader’s son had a temper problem and was arrested after beating up an employee.
— A pastor has an affair. (Actually, that happens way too much).
— A church member gets other members of the congregation caught up in an investment scheme that turns out to be a scam. Many church members were wiped out.
…the list goes on and on. Disaster can happen. Actually, you should plan that a disaster WILL happen. Put an action plan in place that details how you and your staff responds, how to deal with the local press, and what legal issues could surround the crisis. Need help? Let us know.
In today’s litigious world, you can’t be too careful.
You need to be ready, and if you need help, comment below and let me know how to contact you. We can help you create a plan for what to do when things go wrong. It could mean the difference between continuing your ministry, or having to shut your life’s work down completely.