How to Train Your Volunteers to Respond to Crisis
Times of crisis mean all hands on deck and all helpers assembled. Through crisis intervention training, your church could be ready to help, transforming your team of volunteers into an unstoppable force for good. Use this complete guide to ensure you offer church volunteer training that sets your workers up for a lifetime of making a difference.
Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Training for Crisis Events
A crisis event will lead to a succession of unique spiritual, emotional, and physical requirements for the community’s people. Equipping your volunteers with the tools to navigate these challenging times with grace is essential. As a crisis support volunteer, you need to be ready for anything.
Crisis Response International is a Christian charity that mobilizes emergency relief supplies, volunteers, and more through God’s love and power. They offer online crisis intervention training and in-person boot camps that can help you on your journey to becoming a CRI Responder or Disaster Relief Volunteer.
First Aid Training for Churches
First things first—does your church have fully first-trained volunteers? We imagine crises to be huge events, but something smaller could happen between the four walls of your church that requires trained help and guidance too. Offering first aid training to your volunteers is a must.
If a church member fell into cardiac arrest, is there someone who could effectively perform CPR? If a child falls in the playground and scrapes their knee, is a first aid officer qualified to administer wound care effectively? Safety is essential for your kidmin as well as your adults, so prioritize first aid at your ministry.
Christian Counseling for Kids
Children who experience a crisis firsthand may require specific mental health support. Training your volunteers to give counseling sessions to young children will enable you to offer Christian counseling for kids whenever they need it. Some families can’t afford private therapy, but with your trained team of volunteers, their church will support them.
Teach the youngsters of your ministry that you have their backs by offering counseling in the trying times when they need it. Show them essential ways to manage their emotions and useful tools like how to practice mindfulness. Crisis training doesn’t stop when the dust has settled— following up with aftercare is essential.
Many environmental crises require physical help in the form of material possessions. Gathering these resources can be hugely beneficial for disaster relief programs with the aim of helping the victims as soon as possible. If your church is well versed in back-to-school supply runs, navigating these should be a breeze (just switch the pens and pencils for food and other essentials).
Remember that your goal is to help victims, not overwhelm them. Setting restrictions on the quality of items you accept is a useful way to deter people from sending any old (maybe even broken) items they have lying around.
Follow these guidelines outlined by Charity Watch when choosing how to collect donations. Set several drop-off locations or drive around if possible and gather all the resources you can.
Training your crisis assistance ministry volunteers in safety protocols to protect themselves and others is a must. Of course, crisis volunteers are passionate individuals with a drive to make a difference, but don’t let them act out on emotion alone. Just like adults in plane crashes are required to put on their safety masks before their children, your volunteers need to look after themselves first and foremost.
Depending on the crisis at hand, these safety protocols may vary. The World Health Organization offers an array of training programs online, so why not make the most of these at your ministry? Ask for your potential crisis volunteers to make themselves known and facilitate rigorous training in a variety of fields.
Don’t wait for a disaster to strike to discover who is interested in helping—start recruiting your crisis helpers now! Identify volunteers who display strong leadership characteristics and offer them training to lead a group if a disaster strikes. Your church may not have the resources to offer intensive training to everyone, but a few fully-trained leaders will make a huge difference.
If you’re not sure who to select from the pack at your church, check out this blog on how to turn volunteers into leaders. With the right opportunities for crisis intervention training, your volunteers could become a group of experts with the skills required to make a difference when needed. A strong leader with crisis management training can use their knowledge to harness the collective energy of your volunteer team.
Volunteering in times of crisis isn’t just a nice addition to your ministry—it is an essential part of running a Christian church. God needs all of His disciples to be generous and giving, supportive and reliable. Just as Jesus repented for our sins and saved humanity, we must go forth and do good in the world.
There is a lesson in even the darkest times of our lives. God works in mysterious ways, and by jumping into the challenges he sends us, we will get closer to His truth. Disaster volunteering is essential—if you don’t do it, then who will?