My supervisor, mentor, and colleague, Dr. Diane Langberg has been telling us for some time that “trauma is the mission field of our time.” Recently, however, a few Christian NGO/Missions leaders have heard this line in one of her talks and have become electrified by it. I cited it last week in a board meeting at Biblical as I was trying to make the case that developing postgraduate trauma training at Biblical fits our mission: following Jesus into the world.
But, some of you have not heard her give one of these talks. For you, I point you to the World Reformed Fellowship website so you can read a report she made on June 5 regarding the problem of trauma and the opportunity of the church to have a hand in healing this man-made scourge. Below is an excerpt of that short report. Do go to the WRF link and read it in its entirety. The report is not long but it is powerful and includes a couple of specific comments from two leaders in Africa.
We are the church. That means we are the body of Jesus Christ and He is our Head. In the physical realm, a body that does not follow its head is a sick body. That is also true in the spiritual realm. We are His people and I believe with all my heart He has called us to go out of ourselves and follow Him into the suffering of this world bearing both His character and His Word. And we do go – we send missionaries and the Scriptures; we provide food, clean water, education and jobs for many. And we should. We have rarely, however, seen trauma as a place of service. If we think carefully about the extensive natural disasters in our time such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis and combine those victims with the many manmade disasters – the violent inner cities, wars, genocides, trafficking, rapes, and child abuse we would have a staggering number. I believe that if we would stop and look out on suffering humanity we would begin to realize that trauma is perhaps the greatest mission field of the 21st century.
5 responses to “Must Read: Diane Langberg on “Trauma as a Mission Field””
Where or How might a pastor receive training?
Rusty, can you be more specific? Trauma training? Domestic? International?
I have been interested in the trauma American soldiers experience during and after combat, ever since a good friend of mine began her role with the Ohio National Guard, working in support of the families for deployed and returning GI’s. The Veteran’s Administration, along with the National Center for PTSD, has developed an online curriculum as an introduction to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, a 22-module course that can be taken for CE credit with a number of organizations (including American Psychological Association). It is practical and informative…and best of all, it’s entirely FREE! It can be found at
In order to receive CE credit, you must enroll at the VA Employee’s Education System, even if you are a non-Government employee. There you can complete the post-tests, and print out certificates necessary to get CE credit. I have nearly completed the course, and have found it a helpful introduction to the field of military trauma counseling.
Excellent. I agree 100%!
LIke Rusty I am interested in PTSD with veterans as a current active duty USAF chaplain. I’m working on a dissertation at Westminster on developing a counseling program for Christian Chaplains to engage in. I will look into this course and seek to develop the skills. Any other training particularly biblical I would be very interested in. Thanks for posting this. Ch Capt Doug Hess Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst NJ