5 Tips for Dealing with Trauma in the Church

You know it far too well. There are hurting people all around us. And the Church is no exception. I can’t tell you how many times over my years in ministry that I’ve had someone disclose a traumatic experience to me. And more often than not, these beautiful souls are walking around wounded. They are bandaging their wounds the best they can, but they are still bleeding out.

Chances are, you are like me and encounter these situations and don’t always know what to do. Even though I had a fantastic experience in seminary, I only had one required course in counseling. You may have had one, two or more than likely, none. Then, in local church ministry, we encounter people who are in great need of more counseling than we’re equipped to provide.

That’s why this conversation is so important. In it, you’ll find out how the church can collaborate with the Holy Spirit and with trained counselors to bring healing and wholeness to those in your community. Our guest will give you practical insight to better understand Trauma and the valuable role that you can plan in helping those who have survived painful experiences.

About The Guest

Colleen Ramser is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in the treatment of trauma as well as the founder of Colleen Ramser Ministry, an online ministry empowering women impacted by trauma through education and spiritual formation. She’s been involved in ministry for over 10 years and is passionate about seeing women live into their image bearing.

In this episode, she shares 5 tips for how you can help those in your congregation who are recovering from trauma. These tips are incredibly practical for your life and ministry. They will challenge you to engage your own story and prompt you to minister in the manner of Christ like never before.

Listen Here:

Resources

Colleen mentioned several resources that I encourage you to check out.

She mentioned the book The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

She also mentioned the work of Leslie Vernick and Chris Moles. I’ve linked their information below. I encourage you to look into their ministries if you’re seeking more information.

Leslie Vernick

Chris Moles

Colleen made some additional recommendations that I’ve linked for you here. These will be helpful in learning more about trauma the the role you can play as a Church leader to bring healing to the lives you sere.

Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion, and Healing the Divided Self by Chuck DeGroat

Boundaries For Your Soul: How To Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings Into Your Greatest Allies by Allison Cook, PhD and Kimberly Miller, MTh, LMFT

Colleen also recommended any books, videos or teachings by Diane Langberg.

5 Tips for Your Ministry

Safe Presence

As a pastor, you have an opportunity to believe and receive those in your community. Slow down and make space for people to simply be in your presence and feel safe to share what they’ve experienced.

Your Story

The more you lean into your own story and work through the trauma in your own life, the more you’ll be able to sit with those who are suffering.

Choice and Collaboration

Avoid jumping to instructions. Ask questions and give options to those who you are ministering to. The last thing you want to do is continue to strip away their agency. You are collaborating with the Holy Spirit and have the opportunity for the Church to collaborate with trained counselors.

The Body and Trauma

Realize that there is often a physical reaction or symptom to trauma. Avoid the temptation to modify behavior when there is an opportunity for the Lord to do something deeper within someone.

Refer and Report

You don’t have to be the savior. In face, you can’t be! Jesus is the savior and the ultimate healer. As the Church, you have a chance to demonstrate the love of Christ in a unique way. But, chances are, you’re not a trained therapist who specializes in trauma. Therefore, refer people to a trained counselor. AND continue to journey along side of them. Additionally, report abuse that you see or suspect. It is not your job to investigate. Especially when it comes to children, report, report, report.

Get in Touch with Colleen

As Colleen said, she shares tons of free content on her Facebook page. I encourage you to follow along with her at Colleen Ramser Ministries.

You can also connect on her website. I know Colleen would love to hear from you and continue to help you grow, so be sure to reach out.

Let Me Know…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. The best place to continue our conversation is on Facebook and Instagram. So, I hope you’ll connect with me there.

If this episode encouraged you, I hope you’ll share it with at least one friend!

Until next time, I pray that you continue to lead like Jesus!

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