Monday, January 24, 2011

Crisis Intervention Plan

Most youthworkers and youth pastors are quite familiar with the crisis phone calls/text messages. Frequently these do not occur during our "working" hours whatever that looks like. I'd like to share some ideas our team has developed for these situations. We have created a set of questions we use to evaluate a crisis before we step into action.

Is Your God Big Enough?

First off,  in dealing with a crisis, you need to deal with yourself. Consider for a moment, that your apparent selfless act of leaving your sleep and your family behind, maybe more about your need for validation than helping the person in crisis--in reality your selfless act is quite selfish. 

You have to ask yourself if you believe in the Sovereignty of God. Is your God big enough to deal with a crisis without you? If you can't answer yes to this question or you answer it with a "Ya, but..." you are likely setting yourself up to burn out. You may have the subtley put on the superman underwear thinking that you can save these kids. If that's the case, pride is now creeping into you life. Only Jesus can save these kids. He may choose you to be his vessel but it's always his work not yours. 

Is this a REAL Crisis?

A counselor once told me there is no such thing as a crisis that cannot be dealt with tomorrow. There is actually a lot of truth in that statement. In cases where a person's life is in danger your first action should be to call 911. Pretty much any other crisis can (and maybe should) wait for tomorrow.

Is God directing me to go?

There maybe times when it's not a life & death crisis but the Holy Spirit is impressing on us the need to go. Who am I to argue with the God of the Universe? Outside of the direct leading of God here are some concrete questions we ask ourselves before we act on a crisis:

Am I healthy enough to go? (Physical, Emotional, Spiritual)
  1. Have I had enough sleep this week?
  2. Have I had enough exercise this week?
  3. Am I sick?
  4. Do I have the emotional, physical and spiritual energy to give?
  5. Did my stress levels spike when I the phone rang?
  6. Have I spent meaningful time in prayer/scripture today/this week?
Have I taken care of my family?

If you can't take care of your family why do feel like you can take care of someone else's. This is one area I encourage you to ask your family for feedback on.
  1. Have I spent meaningful time with my spouse? (Ask your spouse)
  2. Have I spent meaningful time with my kids? (Ask your kids)
Can someone else go?

One thing our team has learned is that often (not always) a person reaches out to multiple people when in crisis. Our team has often realized after the fact that a teen in crisis was texting all of us at the same time. A few questions in the heat of the moment might have cleared that up. Instead of 4 of us having a sleepless night 1 person could have been sufficient.

Perhaps you have deemed this an important crisis but based on your self evaluation feel you cannot or should not go. This is where you need to refer/employ/empower your teammates, volunteers and other community services. Just because it's a crisis doesn't mean you have to be the one to respond.

Do you have a similar protocol? Did I miss any important questions? Feedback or Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! You have brought up some good questions that I need to evaluate for myself when a crisis arises. Thanks again Derian, this has been most helpful!