In the aftermath of Elmbrook Church's recent tragedy, Leadership Journal's editors sat down with Mel Lawrenz, one of Elmbrook's ministers-at-large. We discussed what church leaders should—and shouldn't—do when a traumatic event takes place in their congregation or community.

Leadership: How can church leaders prepare for crisis?

The church exists for times of crisis as much as it does for the easier parts of life. So it's critical for staff and key leaders to be ready for crises before they happen. Leaders can prepare for it by preparing their people. This looks like teaching biblically, talking realistically about the easy and difficult things of life, making sure that there's a culture of support in your church, and encouraging spiritual growth. If your staff and congregation are prepared, then when the crisis hits they are ready to deal with it. If you're able to respond well, these times can be an extraordinary time for ministry.

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