Situations like the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15th cry out for the hope of Jesus. Unfortunately, many of us in the church are poorly equipped to deal with such crisis. It does not have to be that way! There are some outstanding resources available for ministries and churches to gain knowledge and competency to deal with such trauma.
Prior to yesterday’s event, I had received a mailer from the American Academy of Christian Counselors (AACC) Light University. Ironically, their initial deadline for enrollment in their Crisis Response & Trauma Care Series was on the very day of the Boston tragedy. Each module to the 5 part program costs $299, with the entire course of study totaling $1,200. While that may seem prohibitive, churches can work with the AACC on hosting training programs for lay counselors.
Having completed their series Caring for People God’s Way, I can personally attest to the thorough nature and quality instructors involved in their programs. I urge you to check them out today, even if it is only to check out their blog.
Another excellent resource for the church is the Mental Health & Grace Alliance. While their expertise is largely in helping those with mental illness, we delude ourselves if we believe that national crises like the one in Boston don’t trigger or agitate mental health issues. Offering community groups and recovery programs, this organization also offers training and resources. Minister Joe Padilla and Professor Matt Stanford, PhD have tremendous heart and competence for those who are struggling with mental health issues.
While there are surely other excellent resources at a time like this, I want to stress that it is essential to educate yourself and your team in order that you might be prepared ahead of crises like the one in Boston. Jesus assured us, “In this world, you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) We know that more unthinkable things can and will happen. When tragedy happens, people are looking for answers. We need to be prepared to give them the answers that they seek in the hope of Jesus. “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)