We’ve learned a great deal about trauma in recent years, and one finding that surprises many people is its prevalence. One in five American adults has experienced trauma or its effects in the past decade. That statistic is valid across all groups, including members of churches.
Put another way, one in five members of your congregation is dealing with trauma’s effects in one way or another. You can’t tell who they are by looking at them, nor are the symptoms obvious. People who have been through trauma react in many different ways. Some try to bury the feelings, others are vexed by nightmares, and still others have no idea their past traumas are behind the anxiety or depression they’re currently feeling.
As pastors and church leaders, we have an opportunity to help these people find comfort and healing, and to reach out to people who may not currently be church members but are suffering in similar ways. Barna Group recently noted that two-thirds of practicing Christians report that their own trauma experiences actually helped them become closer to God.
The first step is serving those affected is educating ourselves about trauma and its effects. It’s a complex, often confusing, frequently misunderstood subject, but as people who are committed to ministering to others, we have a responsibility to understand it.
One excellent source for information is a recent report Barna and the American Bible Society developed that explores trauma and what faith leaders need to know to love and serve those who have experienced it. The Care to Change team can also help. We’ll be happy to present workshops to your leadership and worship teams so everyone develops a better understanding of the subject and what people who are hurting are going through. Contact us today to schedule a time to talk.
LINKS: Learn more at:
Jean Crane is one of Care to Change’s therapists. She has helped women and young adults cope with issues related to depression, anxiety, stress and trauma.