Ya’ll shoulda see’d it!

Please forgive my title, but how many times have you seen the news reporter interviewing someone, and thought to yourself “Couldn’t they find anyone better to talk to?”. Think of the person standing in front of the camera that has a (not so nice) saying, or someone that swears when they get excited. Well, that is something that the church needs to consider as well. No matter what the size of the church, an incident can happen at any time, and you need to consider what image you want your church to have prior to an incident ever happening.

A media relations person is a positive for any church, and should not only be considered useful for times of crisis. If they can develop media contacts, they can l help the church to share God’s message and to create a positive message for your house of worship. After developing relationships with individuals in the media, they have an inside source that can help the church for in outreach for a special event. By simply asking, they may be able to advertise for the event, or even get the news agency to possibly cover it. How encouraging would it be when the church is having a revival, for it to be standing room only? How wonderful would it be to have Vacation Bible school so packed that you had to ask for more help? How exciting would it be to have hundreds, or even thousands (depending on the market), of people show up for your next fundraiser or food drive? A media relations person, if they are good, may be able to help your church do this, and it can help provide you with direct contact to people that need the Lord!

Similarly, should there be an active shooting in your church, the media relations person will already have a relationship with the media, and in most instances by simply asking, they may be able to convince the media not to show certain things. Some of those “things”  could be body bags being removed, people being loaded into an ambulance, talking with already stunned parishioners, or showing children. They may also be able to reduce false rumors just by having a working relationship with the media person. The media relations person can do more for your church than you can imagine.

Active shootings are not the only crisis that a church could face. They could face a fire, a flood, sexual misconduct, theft or armed robbery, or other types of violence in the church. Your media relations person will be there to guide the way the church is presented and viewed. This can be very important! There are some (albeit few), media outlets that will spread rumors that are not verified, and in some instances, they may even make up stories. While these instances are rare, they do happen.

Over the next few days, I will provide guidance of on how to choose a media relations person, who should be the media relations person (hint, normally not the Pastor), when there should be an assistant for the media relations person, where to get training (some of it free) and much more. Until then, may God bless you, … Mark

Active shooting-medical training

So you are in the church, and a shooter comes in and shoots members of your church family. You see the shooter has been taken down, and they are being held by several people, but you look around at those that were injured by this person. Here is the question: are you just going to sit there and look at all of the injured people, or are you going to jump in and try to save some lives?

In order to save lives, you need to know what to do. If you do the wrong thing, you may injure someone worse, or you may even kill them. Your not a nurse, a doctor, or even an EMT, but you can get training that WILL teach you what you need to do. In most instances, the training you need and will get, is not expensive, it will just take a little time to complete.

So where can you get this type of training? Let’s start with the obvious and the cheapest way to start. Talk with your local ambulance provider. In most instances, they will send someone to your church for a basic class at no charge. No, this is not a certified class, but who cares? As long as you are taught what to do, that is all that matters! If your worried about lawsuits, … DON”T!!! There is a thing called the Good Samaritan Law. How fitting, considering the setting.  This law protects people who do not have a “duty to act” from being sued. Who has a duty to act? EMT’s, Doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field. The only exception is if you do something that you knew would have caused more death and injury, then you can be sued, but who is going to do that?

So, if you can get enough people together who want to take a basic knowledge first aid class, then contact the local ambulance service. Most of them love the PR that this builds, and they also like the fact that there is a better chance for a patient to be alive when they arrive on scene.

The second way to get some basic training is to take a basic first aid course is online. If after taking a basic course, you find you would like to learn more, then you could always take an advanced course. Where can you find these courses? There are multitudes of them!  You can learn some basic principles for free at First Aid for Free  and  First Aid Web. There is also some sites that sell online training which are very good too. One that I find exceptionally good is ProTrainings. Of course, I am sure that there are plenty of other companies out there that provide this type of training, and a simple Google search should help you identify them.

Of course, there are paid classes that are put on locally by the American Red Cross, as well as other organizations. A simple search in your local area should provide on or two agencies that provide basic first aid training. The point being made in this blog is that you can do something, providing you are willing to pull yourself away from the TV, the computer, or your cell phone long enough to take a class.

More blogs will be coming your way tomorrow! May God bless you, … Mark