When tragedy strikes, you’re likely the first person people turn to. That’s both a heavy burden and a great blessing. Done right, your response points hurting teens and their parents to the only one who can do something with their pain: Jesus.
In today’s show, you’ll hear from two women who know how to walk through seasons of trauma with others. And they’re here to share their wisdom with all of us.
First up is Brooklyn Lindsey, Director of Orange’s High School Exchange, on the conversations we have in the midst of crisis. Then, Joseph Sojourner and Holly Crawshaw interview Katie Edwards, the Junior High Ministry Director at Saddleback Church.
Welcome to Episode 62 of the Think Orange Podcast.
Dave and Ashley introduce today’s guests. (4:25)
Brooklyn Lindsey on leading through crisis, trauma and tragedy. (6:11)
The importance of listening, feeling and remembering. (11:35)
What you can say to a teenager in times of crisis. (14:35)
Joseph Sojourner and Holly Crawshaw introduce Katie Edwards. (18:00)
How today’s teenagers respond to tragedy. (20:50)
The first line of defense when tragedy strikes. (22:00)
How to equip volunteers to respond to tragedy. (25:33)
The best first step to meeting needs during a crisis. (31:00)
How to partner with your community. (34:30)
The surprising ways middle schoolers respond to tragedy. (38:15)
How to support parents in walking through things with their children. (39:55)
Encouragement for new youth pastors. (41:47)
Dave and Ashley’s final thoughts. (44:41)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
Book: The Youth Worker’s Guide to Helping Teenager’s in Crisis by Rich Van Pelt and Jim Hancock
Book: The Wisdom of Stability by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Blog: Orange Leaders – a blog with strategies, tips and ideas from leaders influencing the faith and character of the next generation
Quotes from This Episode
[bctt tweet="Our job is to say yes when crisis walks in the door." username="orangeleaders"][bctt tweet="Sometimes students just want to be normal in the midst of tragedy." username="orangeleaders"][bctt tweet="When things are happening around a teenager, that’s often the best time to talk about what’s happening inside." username="orangeleaders"]
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
Conversation is the entryway of crisis.
When people are hurting, there’s no need for big, sweeping gestures or formal interactions. A simple, sincere exchange of words opens the door for you to support and love a family through tragedy. As soon as you receive bad news, reach out by phone with words of empathy and ask when you might be able to stop by for a visit.
Create a long-term plan for crisis care.
Equally important to that first interaction are the months that follow. While friends and family will probably gather round in support during the weeks after a tragedy, most will return to their lives as normal, while those who are hurting suffer in silence. Get practical. Schedule appointments to check in, by phone or in person, in two-month increments for the foreseeable future.
Remember that teenagers won’t respond to tragedy in the same way adults do.
And many of them won’t react like the peer standing next to them. So take their outbursts--or lack thereof--in stride. Instead of assuming how they should respond, notice how they actually respond. Prompt discussions about how they’re feeling with pointed questions, but learn to be okay with the teen who’d rather joke around than get serious for the moment.
Conversation Starters For Your Church
How comfortable am I with asking hard questions, not having all the answers and sitting with someone as they cry?
Could I reasonably travel, at a moment’s notice, to a teen in crisis or do I need to build up my team of volunteers so there’s always an adult at the ready?
Who do I have as my own support system--people who can grieve with me in times of personal struggle or ministry overwhelm?
When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.
Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.
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We hope you'll join us for next week's episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.