What the Church Can Learn from BP

BP Oil Spill

BP screwed up. It should not take a commission on Capital Hill to help them or their supporters come to that conclusion. But before we pile on to the beleaguered company, fault also belongs to the U.S. government and the British government who for too many decades allowed politicians to tuck away “donations” from oil companies rather than deal with any kind of regulation to keep them in check.

What can we learn from the way BP is handling the oil and PR spills?

1. Pray for the best but prepare for the worst. Maybe my firstborn tendencies are working overtime here but BP never seemed prepared for the worst possible scenario. Instead, there was a great deal of buck-passing and excuse making. Churches likewise do the same when they drop the ball, missing opportunities to minister within the context God has given them and be ready to deal with community drama (can you say natural disasters?) or ministry blunders that cause unnecessary tension between them and groups on completely different spiritual pages. Pray for the best but have a plan to deal with catastrophe.

2. Crisis should inspire creativity. Let’s face it: when problems arise, the true leaders will take over. BP’s leader had to step aside because he had no answers and no vision for how to fix the problem. Pastors (you’re big boys and girls; you can take it!) whose churches are halting toward the finish line of faith are too insecure to allow others within their churches to arise with possible solutions. God has given you, pastor, the vision and anointing to lead but He has also given others gifts and talents to assist you in accomplishing His will. Don’t waste them by stifling the creativity of others for fear that you will lose your “position.” Your pulpit is not your God.

3. Manifest the “gift of move on.” One of the best things a church can do is to unleash the far-sighted leaders in their midst to hear from God and help them prepare for the next thing. Yet this cannot happen if churches do not learn to move in the midst of challenge. It is so easy to camp at the site of our greatest failure. Churches that are allowing the Holy Spirit to use them to draw people to Jesus Christ do not camp; they move. Moses did not have time for a tutorial or YouTube clips on how to overcome a Red Sea and a maniacal pharaoh hell-bent on destroying him and his people. He could not go back to Egypt. Everyone around him questioned whether he or she had made a mistake in leaving the bondage of slavery. God had the remedy:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. (Exod. 14:15-16, NIV)

God’s word in the midst of crisis: “Move on!” To get where they had never been, Moses as their leader had to do something he had never done. It seems to me the church could learn from that.

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