Five years ago, I had no idea that my professional journey would result in a ministry. God often sets us on a course and we have little to no idea where it’s going to take us. I was confused as to what God wanted me to do with my professional experience as a therapist and my passion for deeper theology. While out on a prayer walk, the thought of studying trauma in theology finally occurred to me. But I didn’t necessarily think that people would respond to the idea of trauma for several reasons, mainly because trauma is a topic that will make your head and your heart hurt.
Since I began putting out content on YouTube and podcasts, the response has been overwhelming. Disciples from around the world have reached out to me looking for referrals and for next steps, ultimately looking to begin their process of deeper healing. Trauma is interesting because it infiltrates everything around us. And I think the collective aspect of trauma has become undeniable as everyone on the planet has been affected by the recent pandemic.
I began my YouTube channel a few years after starting my theological journey at Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology. I then transferred to Harding School of Theology where I will further my biblical studies. My ultimate goal is to pursue doctoral research in the area of Biblical Humanity. Trauma is an entry point for the bigger question, “What does it mean to be human?” Ultimately, trauma is anything that strips us of our humanity. I find that we often don’t know how to articulate what it means to be human, which can be at the root of trauma.
A signature moment in my ministry was when I began interviewing various experts on my YouTube channel, both within and outside of the ICOC. My goal is to address difficult issues from a different perspective. Hot-button issues are frequently avoided because of the fear of causing disunity, but sometimes not addressing difficult issues can lead to greater tension. So far I have touched on topics like healing religious trauma, purity culture, and how kids develop in the church.
Another goal I’ve had is to invite our ministers to the table and hear their perspective. Many of our ministers have suffered greatly even before the pandemic and have a tremendously valuable perspective. I recently had the honor of presenting trauma lectures to ministers via the Minister’s Health Webinar and the Small Church Leadership Conference in Dallas. I have a heart for our ministers along with the members.
Last month, I was recognized as a teacher in my home church in Omaha. It is an honor to be able to invest in the Omaha Church of Christ as they have invested in my growth over the years. I am grateful to serve on several teams of like-minded people. Last year I began working with Joel Peed and the Minister’s Health Committee. I joined the Counselor’s Committee and provided content at the InsideOut Christian Counseling Conference in October. And I look forward to partnering with various individuals on the ICOC Teacher’s Service Team soon.
In this next year, I’m working on several projects that I hope will bless many. Michael Burns and I are in the process of writing The Big Lie, a book that will address racism through the lens of intergenerational trauma and what is called “legacy burdens.” I am excited about this collaboration as it is one of the few books that will merge healthy theology and trauma research in one discussion. The other book I’m working on will give a basic understanding of trauma that everyone from member to minister will find useful. I am hoping to provide a workbook that people can work through as they read the book. And finally, on my YouTube channel, I plan to address more specific issues such as social anxiety as a Christian, the effects of the pandemic within the church, why kids leave the church, and emotional safety in the upcoming year.
Learn more about my ministry at truthtraumatheology.com.