Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Emergencies

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jul 25, 2016
When a disaster or crisis strikes it always comes without warning and in an inconvenient time. 
Though emergencies cannot be planned they should be expected because it is inevitable that they will come. Sometimes these emergencies require immediate attention and the pastor’s regular schedule must be interrupted. A church family may need emotional, physical and certainly spiritual support and the preacher should become available to help immediately. Sometimes a community crisis provides an opportunity to show the love of Christ and present the gospel to hurting souls when otherwise it may not be possible. Also, the preacher’s own family may experience problems that require immediate attention. In all of these situations the preacher must put on everything else on hold to address this most pressing problem. 
Some of these emergency situations develop during the late hours of night or on a weekend and they will interrupt the preacher’s study time or family time. Every pastor must remember that he is on call twenty-four seven and he must be ready to respond immediately. The typical American schedule constitutes a job that is nine to five, but in the ministry there are no set hours and no one punches a clock and leaves for home at the end of the day. Emergencies must be responded to quickly and without delay. 
It must be understood that some people live in a constant state of emergency and they believe that everything in their life is an emergency and the preacher should drop everything he is doing to attend to their wants. One of the keys to a new pastor is to learn to discern what constitutes an emergency. Their need may not be as immediate a need as they think. Their problem may not warrant leaving your dinner table or ending a weekly date with your wife to attend to it. While some members constantly seek the pastor’s help other members are just the opposite, they never contact the preacher, even when they face a crisis. Therefore, a pastor must always be sensitive to the needs of all his members. When made aware of a special need the pastor should respond immediately. 
Crises come in many forms. Obviously a medical or health crisis is the most common, but there are also financial crisis. It seems every church has one or more families that are in constant financial turmoil. They often make their situation known to others in the church which creates sympathy for their plight. They may have just lost their job, perhaps they are being evicted or they simply do not have enough money to send their kids to camp. The long term answer to their need is to learn financial planning, but they can only see their immediate needs.  Helping families such as this can be a blessing, but only for a period of time. It can get old when the church family begins to recognize their greater problem is mismanagement. Discernment is always needed. The pastor should lead the church family to help people in need and at the same time protect the church from those who needlessly take advantage of the church’s generosity.
Another emergency that a church planter will face has is family problems by his members. Great care must be taken when called to a home where the father is drunk and breaking windows or threatening his family. Other families may need prayer and counsel when their teenager attempts suicide. The new pastor must be prepared to respond properly when a father is packing up and leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. These kind of problems demand immediate response and a faithful preacher must be prepared to leave his busy schedule to attend to this higher calling. 
Pastors are considered shepherds and a shepherd cares for his flock. Building and growing the church involves interruptions and emergencies and these moments must not be ignored. People will know they have a preacher that loves them because he was there in a time of crisis.