Abuse, abandonment, neglect, violence, rape, and much more. If you’ve been doing ministry for any length of time, this list probably looks pretty familiar, because all of these things are examples of traumatic experiences. At Scarlet Hope, nearly 100% of the women we work with have undergone some sort of trauma, usually starting in childhood. Understanding trauma and learning how to care for those who have undergone trauma is crucial, and that is why our second Virtual Training was all about trauma-informed care.
In the first session of the training, Rachelle gave an overview of trauma, as well as some guidelines we give all of our volunteers. Rachelle taught us that the effects of trauma are endless, from low self-esteem and depression to addiction and suicide. Often people who have undergone trauma will not experience the world or make decisions in the same way that other people do. Because ministry is ultimately focused on forming relationships and loving people with the gospel, understanding trauma will help us be careful, patient, and wise as we love others.
In addition to giving several examples of experiences we’ve had at Scarlet Hope in working with women who have endured trauma, Rachelle also shared the six objectives we train all of our volunteers on as we care for women. The six objectives we use are as follows:
Establish structure and consistency in expectations
Show respect in all interactions and to all
Build trust with others
Use a strengths-based approach
Recognize escalated behavior in yourself and others
Use effective de-escalation techniques
The second part of our training was an incredible treat because we had a panel of four professionals who work with vulnerable populations on a daily basis. One of the panelists, Alexa Graham, reminded us that trauma is found all over the bible, and we can find comfort and reassurance that Jesus is in the business of redeeming trauma. Christa Hicks explained the deep shame that trauma victims often experience and how essential it is to begin conversations with love and respect. Rachelle Starr encouraged participants to stay filled up in the Lord so that we are able to be poured out to vulnerable populations. Monica Henderson urged participants to be constant learners of trauma, continuously striving to know and understand how to minister to the vulnerable more effectively.
Monica is exactly right that we must be constant students of trauma; there is always more we can learn and strive to understand. If you attended this Virtual Training, we pray you left feeling encouraged and strengthened as you strive to carry out the mission God has called you to. While we are weak, our Heavenly Father is strong and will equip us to do what He’s called us to do!
To learn more about our panelists, check out the following organizations: Monica Henderson is with https://www.bsideuforlife.org, Christa Hicks is with https://onemorechild.org, and Alexa Graham is with https://recenterministries.org.