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How to Respond to a Crisis

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In a recent post, we examined how to deal with crisis on a personal level. Now, let’s talk about how to deal with crisis on a public level.

There are tons of ways for organizations to prepare for, walk through and move forward from crises. However, let’s focus in on our individual response.

So, when we experience a whole range of crises from a tsunami killing an estimated 230,000 to the reoccurrence of police involved shootings with unarmed black men to economic bubbles bursting, how do we publicly respond?

1. Reflect and pray.

First, process the incident personally. Prayerfully walk back through the story of Scripture. Remind yourself of the Truth — the world was created good but fell into sin, and the effects of sin are causing the present crisis. Every crisis forces us to examine the reality of sin, the necessity for a Savior and our hope that all things will be made new. While you do this, pray for the parties involved. Allow yourself to humanize the victims and the perpetrators by bringing them, by name, before the throne of God.

2. Acknowledge the crisis.

Acknowledging the crisis can be simple, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you need you to share your thoughts or opinion. It can be as easy as sharing a post or article that states what happened. As we publicly work through crisis it is helpful to inform people about the crisis.

3. Listen.

Thanks in part to social media and our need for self-validation – we speak before (if ever) listening. When an unarmed black man is shot and killed, listen. When a terrorist drives a truck into a crowd or opens fire in a school or at a concert or in a church, listen. Do not neglect to humanize those involved in the crisis. Through listening to families, friends, co-workers, entire communities and cultures you can begin to understand, sympathize and hopefully empathize) with what has happened.

Use your voice to give an informed perspective in a sea of often uninformed chatter.

4. Speak.

After you’ve processed, after you’ve acknowledged and after you’ve listened, then you can speak. In so doing you can use your voice to give an informed perspective in a sea of often uninformed chatter.

5. Be hopeful.

Remember your hope. The process of walking through one crisis can be difficult but frequent occurrences can become draining. At some point you have to ask, and answer, where your hope comes from. Crises present a unique opportunity by forcing you to ask whether or not you really believe the things you say you believe. Do you really trust that God holds you, cares for you and is working all things together for your good? Have you embraced the truth that “this present suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed” (Romans 8:18)?

Crisis can be crippling, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. It may not be tangible growth, but it may be eternal growth where you are forced to huddle into the only safety that is truly safe.

Crisis, like the Christian life, isn’t easy. You must constantly battle in the midst of a weary mind to remember the goodness of God toward you his blood-bought child. As his child, you can draw near to your Father and find comfort even though you don’t understand the reason crisis is happening.

So, when a crisis hits, reflect. Pray. Acknowledge the crisis. Listen. Speak. And remember your hope in an often-hopeless world.

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Sam Morris

Sam Morris is the Electronic Marketing Specialist at Southeastern Seminary. He holds a BA and MA in Communications from Wichita State University. He is married and has one son.

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