Interview with Jon McHatton, Church Advisor
In an interview with this month’s featured Church Advisor, Jon McHatton explains why churches need to be prepared. His 30+ years’ experience of pastoring and his work with the faith and government community in Arizona to build sustainable preparedness has uniquely prepared him for the Church Advisor role.
How do you define the need that you see in churches to be prepared?
According to Ephesians 4:11-14, it is Necessary for church leaders to educate and equip Disciples. This is the ultimate NEED to watch and pray, to be salt and light, and to be wise in our building. All of these directions are based upon the NEED to be prepared. Are you ready for the Lord to come? Are you ready to give an answer? Are you ready to receive salvation? Preparation is not the means to a goal, in the church it is the goal.
How many years did you pastor?
I had the privilege of being a pastor for over 30 years.
From one pastor to another, what recommendations would you have regarding preparedness based on past experiences?
I learned the importance of preparedness the hard way; I wasn't prepared for the "crisis" of the ministry. Someone very wise told me that, "the church cannot operate only on love; you must have a plan!" I can illustrate this by a few questions.
- What do you do when the lights and power go out in a service?
- What do you do if someone comes in and disrupts the service?
- What do you do when someone in your church commits suicide?
I learned what the people do; they look to the pastor for the answers!
When this happened to me I soon realized that I was not prepared for what I signed up to do. What I recommend to pastors is to learn from my lack of preparedness. Take to heart what Jesus instructed; count the cost to see if you are able to finish. Counting the cost is not seeing if you are capable, because we can do all things through Christ and His strength. It is that we are to take stock in our needs and resources and then plan and prepare for the journey and the unexpected trials of our faith.
If a church was interested in learning more about getting prepared, where would you recommend they begin?
The journey of preparation begins with hearing from God that this is a necessity and not a suggestion in our commission as the church to make disciples of all nations. Once we understand that principle as truth then we will search out the best resource available. I have found that ReadyChristian and ReadyChurch are two of the most complete and connected discipleship trainings available.
There are many programs but only CEN connects people with people and then mobilizes them to serve the vision of the house to impact the community, including in a time of crisis and challenge.
You also do work with government through your civic, non-profit organization. What have been some lessons that you have learned regarding preparedness through these endeavors?
- The one who has the relationship has the influence and access in crisis.
- In order to work with government officials you must be willing to work/serve with people from every faith and social sphere.
- If one church serves it is looked at as humanitarian but if the Church serves it is seen as God's people caring.
- If the church judges they give people the power to judge. If they refuse to judge the only thing people can do is accuse. If the church serves it silences the accuser.
- It is imperative to learn the language, methods and structure of first responders if you want to respond to a community in crisis.
- Don't be afraid to approach government leaders in their official capacity and ask them how you can serve.
Find out more about the ReadyChurch program here.
Find out more about the Church Advisors and how they can assist your church in biblical preparedness.