Mission Georgia initiative helping churches, parents minister to traumatized kids


MARIETTA, Ga. – Training church leaders and volunteers in how to help children and teens suffering from trauma has quickly become one of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s most popular ministries.

Foster care mobilizer Tera Melber said more than 350 people have undergone the training being offered through Mission Georgia, a Mission Board initiative that seeks to help the state’s most vulnerable populations.

One of the most in-demand training courses looks at why churches are seeing rising numbers of troubled kids and how congregations can best meet their needs while sharing the love of Christ.

That course, which is being offered quarterly for lead pastors, youth and children’s pastors, and volunteers, drew 40 people at the Noonday Baptist Association on Thursday.

Melber said children are exposed to an assortment of trauma, including physical or sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, divorce of parents, even natural disasters.

“Adults who live under stressful circumstances may have developed coping skills to manage stress,” she said. “Children and teens are not as prepared. Today’s young people are struggling. Their struggles often manifest in their behaviors.”

Melber said churches can be safe places for such kids, a place where they can be ministered to in their times of need.

“Because of our fallen world, trauma is universal,” she said. “The church must be prepared.

Mission Georgia also offers training called “Trauma-Informed Parenting Strategies.”

“The parenting course is for adoptive, foster, and kinship families,” Melber said. “The aim is to educate, equip, and empower families. Parenting through a trauma-informed lens builds connections and strengthens relationships helping a child heal and grow.”

The parenting course is offered monthly and covers a variety of topics from month to month.

“Foster parents can receive certifications of completion of that course for continuing education,” Melber said.

A similar course, “The Trauma-Informed Church,” is being offered upon request for church staff members.

“Christians can stand with those who are hurting,” Melber said. “Mission Georgia is here to help.”

To register for upcoming classes, go to https://missiongeorgia.org/fostercare/#training