Is Your Ministry Prepared for an Emergency?

What would happen to your ministry if something happened to you? There are three levels of preparation that every ministry leader should make for the unexpected ... even (or especially) if your ministry is only you.Over the holidays, the news was full of articles about Queen Elizabeth and her poor health. She missed Christmas church for the first time in decades. There was even a fake news report of her death.

In the wake of these reports, there were also articles about what will happen when the Queen does pass away.  I was fascinated by all the details.  Who will make the announcement and when, depending on the time of day and circumstances, the prescribed period of mourning, the details of Prince Charles’ swearing in as King … all the way down to how the postage stamps, currency and words to the National Anthem will be changed to reflect the new monarch.

While we may not have something as important as the National Anthem to consider, we do need to think about what would happen to our ministry or business if something happened to us.  It doesn’t have to involve something as tragic as our death or serious injury.  It could be a family situation that occupies more attention than usual.  Or SURPRISE!  Your husband kidnaps you for a romantic two week stay in the mountains with no internet service.

What would you do? There are three levels of preparation that every ministry leader should make for the unexpected … even (or especially) if your ministry is only you.

Who ya gonna call?

Everyone should have at least one trusted person they can call to cover the basics in an emergency.  It could be a friend, a virtual assistant or ministry partner, but there needs to be someone who can at least notify others who may be depending on you.

When left with an information vacuum, people naturally assume the worst.  We work hard to develop deep and caring relationships with our audience and our ministry community.  Those relationships bring with them a responsibility to keep people informed when we can’t be where we are expected to be.

Where are the bones buried?

If you were incapacitated for a long period of time, what information would someone need to close out your affairs? As the leader of an online enterprise, your digital footprint is likely pretty broad.  There are a number of accounts, subscriptions and commitments that would need to be closed or transferred to someone else.

One of the First Five Commandments of Leadership Succession Planning is to prepare an “emergency envelope.”  Ask yourself, “What would someone need to know if I got hit by a bus?”

Download this checklist to create your Emergency Envelope


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Who’s up next?

Depending on the size of your ministry, you may need to consider who is going to take over after you.  It doesn’t have to be due to death or retirement.  It could just be that God is calling you to move into new areas and someone will need to take over your current role.  Who will it be?

Throughout the Bible, God’s leaders prepared for the next generation without leaving a leadership vacuum.  In Numbers 27, Moses anointed Joshua. In 1 Chronicles 22, David prepared Solomon to be King.  And in Matthew 16, Jesus declared that he would build his church on Peter.  All of these men

knew their time as the leader was coming to an end and they provided a way for their work to carry on.

There are many models of succession planning.  In some situations, it is best to name a successor early so everyone in the organization gets used to the idea.  In others, you may want to groom someone without telling them or anyone else until the time comes.

Choosing a successor is a matter of deep prayer …. both the How and the Who.  But God gave us a clue as to the What in the instructions he gave to Moses, who asked God to provide someone to lead the people.

So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him.”  Numbers 27:18 (NIV)

Notice God did not choose Joshua because he was a great warrior.  Or because everyone was comfortable with him.  Or because he had been around for a long time.

God chose Joshua because he had a spirit of leadership.  He made good decisions.  He had strong relationships. And the people would follow him.

The choice of your successor may be the most important one you make for your ministry.  Choose wisely and choose a leader.

What kind of emergency plans do you need to make for your ministry?  Do you have a trusted friend or partner who could take care of your business in your absence?

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7 thoughts on “Is Your Ministry Prepared for an Emergency?

  1. Great post! Not enough people plan for emergency’s with their ministries. There’s also the natural disaster kind of emergency that also needs to be planned for (although in a different way than succession planning.)

  2. Some good thoughts here. Thanks for sharing. We often forget to think about emergencies when it’s very important. Even in the church. I studied a class on church emergencies and it’s amazing how often we overlook minor details that are easily avoidable.

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