Could We Have Been Better Prepared?

By Mark A. Taylor

After the worst power outage in our community’s history, government and energy leaders are asking, “How could we have been better prepared?”

When the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through the Ohio Valley September 14, at least 90 percent of the electric customers in the Greater Cincinnati area lost power—more than 1 million users. Similar stories were told in Louisville and Columbus and many places in-between. Even on the eighth day after the hurricane-strength winds toppled trees and power lines here, tens of thousands were still waiting for their power to be restored.

All this happened while we were finishing this issue of CHRISTIAN STANDARD, and I couldn’t help thinking how crisis interrupts energy in the spiritual as well as physical realms.

Consider, for example, this week’s lead article by an anonymous author. We can imagine how his failures consumed the energy of leaders at his church. He alludes to hours spent in confession, discussion, and prayer—all requiring energy for his restoration that could have gone to building something new.

These elders set a good example for us. Nowhere do leaders better obey the New Testament command to “bear one another’s burdens” than when they help a fellow leader turn away from his sin. We don’t know what these men did to prepare for this crisis, but their experience prods every group of elders to consider how they will face unforeseen staff difficulties:

• A member of the minister’s family is struck by a terminal illness.

• The minister resigns unexpectedly to serve in another place.

• A staff member is caught in addiction or abuse or financial impropriety.

The list of possibilities seems endless, and elders might feel they could never plan for all of them. Maybe we can find one solution in Steve Bond’s article. Notice his description of each staff member’s monthly accountability report. A simple system that checks in with each staff member each month may uncover problems at their earliest stages.

But maybe not. Our anonymous author confesses he became expert at hiding his indiscretions. Maybe the best preparation for crisis is the development of character that comes from consistent service, prayer, and study. Elders thus equipped are ready to shepherd with wisdom and strength, no matter which errant path some headstrong sheep may choose.

Maybe Greater Cincinnati will never experience a 90 percent power outage again. Maybe your church will never be faced with a serious energy interruption caused by personal problems. But since such crises have happened before, we do well to anticipate how we will react if they come our way.


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