Congregations are not magically immune from bad things. Unfortunately, congregations are sometimes the place where the hard edges of life are experienced with cutting immediacy. For example, a youth trip leaves a child gravely injured. It is difficult to even let the thought cross your mind. Or, a pastor experiences a severe bout of depression. The sanctuary burns to ground (another example). This book gives helpful and pastorally wise advice to congregations experiencing crisis. The author, Greg Hunt, writes from experience. The church he was pastoring in Louisiana experienced a tragedy; 23 youth and adult sponsors from First Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., were involved in a tragic bus accident, leaving two dead and others seriously injured. This book is the one he wished he had. Readers of the book are offered a design for a crisis management plan. Aspects of such a plan include dealing with chaos, finding the road to recovery, learning from the experience, and experiencing God in the eye of the storm. The examples in the book are real, coming from the difficult circumstances of particular congregations. Some hints: be familiar with the book before a crisis occurs, perhaps assigning the book to a board of trustees or others assigned with congregational safety issues. During a crisis, refer to the volume frequently for judicious counsel and for the reassurance that you don’t have to go through a crisis alone.
Reviewed by Tim Shapiro