This year, the Foster Support Faith Alliance (a ministry of Light up the City) has expanded our purpose beyond building a bridge between churches and the local foster care system, to also equippingchurches to engage in this valuable ministry. We’re working on connecting churches to needed resources and one of the most requested resource was trauma-informed caregiver training, so that the Church could be a welcoming place to anyone exposed to significant trauma in their lives (including children in the foster care system, foster parents, bio parents, etc..) We know that we, as church leaders, can’t encourage our congregation members to live out the gospel by becoming licensed foster parents, and then not be equipped to welcome their foster child into our children’s ministry program! And, we know that Children’s ministry is a vital ministry of the church and is often the reason why families come, why families stay, and unfortunately why families sometimes leave a church.
So, about a week ago, over 100 church leaders gathered for our 3rd Annual Pre-Refresh Church Leaders’ Seminar on “Becoming a Trauma-Informed Church.” Guest speakers Ryan and Kayla North, co-founders of the ministry One Big Happy Home, spoke to outreach pastors, children and family pastors, and lay leaders about what trauma is, how it impacts behavior, and what strategies to put into place in ministering to those from trauma-backgrounds. As the North’s explained, “being informed about how connection and trauma impact our relationships is key to helping us love others as Jesus loves us.”
So, Ryan and Kayla delivered a thorough presentation on the scientific and relational impacts of trauma (sprinkled with Ryan’s hilarious sense of humor), practical tools for churches on how to structure their programs and communicate better with trauma-informed kids, as well as a number of follow-up resources, our churches can benefit from. One such resource is their offer for any of our churches to take this 3-hour training back to your own staff and volunteers at a discounted rate! The North’s are offering their webcast “Becoming Trauma Informed: Helping Kids Feel Safe at Church” for your entire church to view for one third of the cost ($100, instead of $150). You can register to view it at any time (not just in March) at the link above and enter the code “UGM” at check out for your discount.
The Foster Support Faith Alliance will be continuing to develop the resources you need to lead your church in this vital ministry, including stories and stats to share from the pulpit, ideas of ways your church might serve (including step by step resources in setting up these ministry opportunities), and lists of helpful speaking and reading resources. If you are interested in learning more, email Mandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mandy Neill