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Lecture Syllabus - GH-01 - Leading Congregations through Crisis

by Greg Hunt

Congregations cannot only survive crisis; they can thrive missionally in the aftermath. In this course, we will learn about best practices for leading during, after, and even before crisis strikes. Based on 30+ years of pastoral experience, interviews with other crisis-tested leaders, and his book, Leading Congregations through Crisis (Chalice Press, 2012), Dr. Greg Hunt will examine what happens when crisis strikes and how congregational leaders can prepare for future crises, navigate beyond current ones, and transform crises into opportunities for congregational learning and development.

Session 1 - Unwelcome Interruptions: Initial Insights into Congregational Crisis

  • Define key terms.
  • Identify three primary types of crises.
  • Look more closely at ten different kinds of situational crisis.
  • Deal with crisis as a fact of life.
  • Consider three critical facets of crisis leadership.
  • Introduce six key questions that will be addressed during the remainder of the course:
    • How do effective congregational leaders deal with the chaos that comes with crisis?
    • What do they do to facilitate congregational recovery?
    • How do they leverage the transformational potential of crisis?
    • What steps do they take to get in front of crises?
    • How do they facilitate the faith experience of the congregation as it responds to crisis?
    • How do they lead through crisis without burning out?

Session 2 - When Crisis Strikes: Dealing with Chaos

  • Establish crisis containment as a top leadership priority at the outset of crisis.
  • Look more closely at three keys to effective leadership at the outset of crisis.
  • Consider the importance of effective communication in crisis response.
  • Delineate a set of communication essentials.
  • Deal specifically with the challenge and opportunity of interacting with news media.

Session 3 - Managing the Mess: Putting the Congregation on the Road to Recovery

  • Clarify the goal of crisis recovery.
  • Outline 7 key steps for orchestrating the recovery process.
  • Consider the likelihood of complications and how to deal with them.
  • Reflect on crisis care from a leader’s perspective.
  • Discuss important considerations related to crisis resolution and finding a new normal.

Session 4 - Never Waste a Crisis: Learning from the Trouble that Comes

  • Establish a biblical basis for thinking opportunistically about crises.
  • Come to terms with the inevitability of change that comes with crisis.
  • Consider the personal and organizational opportunities for development that come with crisis.
  • Highlight the value of a fail-forward attitude toward mistakes and setbacks.
  • Look more closely at a 4-step process for managing risk proactively and missionally.

Session 5 - Faith and Crisis: Experiencing God in the Eye of the Storm

  • Identify primary avenues for facilitating a congregation’s spirituality in the midst of crisis.
  • Look more closely at the role of prayer.
  • Consider the art of knowing when to direct the action and when to get out of the way.
  • Reflect on and affirm the decisive presence of God.

Session 6 - Going the Distance: Leading through Crisis without Burning Out

  • Confront the hazards of crisis leadership.
  • Consider the importance of resilience.
  • Spotlight 3 key resilience skills and how to cultivate them:
    • Thinking skills
    • Capacity skills
    • Action skills
  • Frame the crisis leadership process in a hopeful way.