The Future Is Here

EP. 3: The Trauma-Informed Church w/ Dr. David Wang

June 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
The Future Is Here
EP. 3: The Trauma-Informed Church w/ Dr. David Wang
Chapters
The Future Is Here
EP. 3: The Trauma-Informed Church w/ Dr. David Wang
Jun 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3

The Church of the future must be trauma-informed. The World Health Organization has found that approximately 70% of individuals worldwide have been exposed to some type of traumatic event in their lifetime. This figure is even more pronounced in urban populations. In fact, one study found that nearly 90% of individuals who reside in low-income urban areas have experienced many types and combinations of trauma. With this evidence, church leaders must operate from a place of healing. You can't give what you don't have. When church leaders are operating from unresolved trauma, it is possible to do more harm than good. We must address these underlining issues as leaders. Episode 3, featuring Dr. David Wang, is an invitation to deep healing. Dr. Wang is a licensed psychologist, pastor, and associate professor of psychology and pastoral counseling. He is also the editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology and serves on the editorial board for Spirituality in Clinical Practice (an APA journal).

Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Show Notes Transcript

The Church of the future must be trauma-informed. The World Health Organization has found that approximately 70% of individuals worldwide have been exposed to some type of traumatic event in their lifetime. This figure is even more pronounced in urban populations. In fact, one study found that nearly 90% of individuals who reside in low-income urban areas have experienced many types and combinations of trauma. With this evidence, church leaders must operate from a place of healing. You can't give what you don't have. When church leaders are operating from unresolved trauma, it is possible to do more harm than good. We must address these underlining issues as leaders. Episode 3, featuring Dr. David Wang, is an invitation to deep healing. Dr. Wang is a licensed psychologist, pastor, and associate professor of psychology and pastoral counseling. He is also the editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology and serves on the editorial board for Spirituality in Clinical Practice (an APA journal).

Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Speaker 1:

Are you listening? Hey fam, welcome to the features here podcast . This is for the leaders, the dreamers, provocateurs, miss Vista , frustrated frontline leaders who are charging in the kingdom for tired of reactive church. It's time to build a church. We dream of. Now, the features here, so don't get left behind. Are you listening? Let's get into it. Welcome to another episode. We're excited for today and so we're going to be talking about the trauma informed church. And so we believe that the future is here right now and the future of the church is trauma informed. And so I have a good friend of mine today with us as our guests . Dr. David Wang is here and Dave is a good friend of mine. We started a church together. Um, but I, when we started the church I didn't realize how big of a deal Dave was. He's actually a published author. He's a professor at Biola university. He's a psychologist. He travels around the world , uh , working on trauma informed care , um, in a lot of different spaces. Um, he does a ton of research and so super excited to have him on the call today to help us understand and to start to frame for our leaders what does it mean for the church and for leaders to be trauma informed. So, Dave, thanks so much for being here, brother . So thankful for you. Um , as a friend of my life as a co-pastor , um , as a co-labor in this work in the kingdom of God. So if you could brother, could you give us a framework for what is it that you're involved in? Kind of share a little bit about what you're up to and what you've been doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and again, thank you so much for having me. It's a great honor to be here and enjoy and join , uh, join this , uh , podcast with you. Um, I'm working on a number of projects. Um, the first project I'm working on is actually a research paper on humility and how important it is for our leaders to be humble. And this particular paper is on humility specifically as it applies to humanitarian aid work. And how if we have a humble leaders who are in charge of these human humanitarian aid organizations, how the positive effects of that can be felt all through the organization as well as the people that are impacted by them. Um, I'm also in the middle of writing some training curriculum on trauma informed care and applying it specifically for Christian communities. And , uh , the heart behind this work is to help Christian communities and churches and ministries to be equipped to know how to accompany and love well and care for those people who well, who have survived trauma and to do so in a way , uh, that , uh, keeps it so that we don't end up retraumatizing them in the process. And I'm really, really looking forward to talking about this more and more detail later on in today's program and what's occupying a lot of my time is I'm actually the overseeing this large three-year research grants funded by the John Templeton foundation. And we are going to use a scientific research to study spiritual formation among seminary students in 17 different North American seminaries. And this is involving evangelical seminaries, mainline Protestant seminaries. We have a few , um , historically African American seminaries as well, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox seminaries. And we're going to attempt to use research methods to , um, gain insight on these really important questions such as, you know , how do you tell if somebody is spiritually mature and , uh, what is the relationship between , um, spiritual maturity and our maturity as human beings? Um, and we're interested in exploring the question, you know , for those , uh , people who are able to go to seminary, does seminary in fact shape our spiritual life and our who we are as people as well as our character? And if so, what about the seminary context actually shapes that?

Speaker 1:

Hmm . Dang, bro, I can't even believe you have time to be on this call with us. Brother. Thank you so much. That's a lot, man. But what I love about , uh , what I love about you, Dave, and want our listeners to hear this too, is that , uh , although obviously you're pretty smart dude, right? And , uh, and so he's out there. He's doing all the research. He's, he's writing these papers. What do I love about David's? He's pragmatic, he's practical and he's living this out in, in a church context. My church specifically in Fullerton, California with our people. And so as we kind of get into the day , I just want to frame a little bit , um , about why this is important and why we believe that the church of the future is trauma informed. And so , uh , for 16 years I ran something called solidarity and it was a nonprofit organization. We lived in the Barrio, we lived in the hood , um , you know, community development. And we were just walking with people. And one of the things that we learned through that experience was that the church by and large , um, is not great at suffering well with others. Now we are great at programming, we are great at, at services, we're great at worship, we're great. There's a lot of things that we're great at. Um, but unfortunately suffering with others were not. And compassion means to actually, and you know, this day mail you writing papers on this, but compassion actually means to suffer with. And I believe through my experience in the kingdom of God through scripture, through this lived out experience that when you walk, when you suffer well with people , uh, it , it, it's a dynamic process where healing not only comes for the other person, but it comes for the person who's walking with them and actually brings healing. It's dynamic, right? And we're going to talk a little bit about that, but this, I believe that a theology of suffering can actually change the trajectory of the church. You have , uh , uh , you know, in my context, you have a million young people, Dave leaving the church every year , um, and they're not leaving because , um, uh, theological differences, they're leaving because they're not compelled by the life that they see when, when the church can actually suffer well with other people. Um, that shows the kingdom of God and people can be like, man, that was a real answer. And that's what I love about you brother , is that you bring real answers from Chrome , from that place of the ivory tower, you know, as they say , uh , of learning, which is so important, but you bring it down to the street brother . And, and so that's what I want to get into today to help our leaders kind of understand a little bit. Um, and to kind of frame it a little bit for us to , um, you and I have been walking with people , uh, in our church and, and kind of, and, and helping them and the trauma that they've experienced. And in some ways I almost feel like, like pers , what percentage of our church? Right. And we have like, there's a hundred people in our church. Okay. What percentage of our church do you feel like have, have experienced trauma?

Speaker 2:

Um, and I , I don't think our church much, I mean in many ways our church is really unique, but as it applies to , uh, how common trauma is in our church compared to other churches, I honestly don't think it's that different. And , um, my guess would be, you know, easily over 50% of our church have experienced some form of trauma. In fact, there's research done by , um, uh, uh, the S um , shoot, sorry. Can we cut? Um,

Speaker 3:

okay .

Speaker 2:

Oh man. I thought the , the research point was a right over there. No worries. No problem. Sorry.

Speaker 4:

No problem. Um, what I'll do is , uh , just have you, I'll just have you say start again. In fact, we found that, so that line, you picked up the research and then still start there. Thank you. Okay . I found it.

Speaker 3:

Okay .

Speaker 2:

Um, in fact, the world health organization has found that approximately 70% of individuals worldwide have been exposed to some type of traumatic event in their lifetime. And these figures are even more pronounced in kind of urban population dead settings. In fact, one study found that nearly 90% of individuals who reside in low income urban areas have experienced trauma in their lifetime with multiple traumas , uh , being more common than singular traumas. So I feel like, I mean, the evidence, not only from what we've observed in the church that we pastored together, but , uh , my interactions with other churches and what I hear from other church leaders is that it's actually more common than not for someone to actually have a trauma history then for them to not have a trauma history.

Speaker 1:

Well, and so , uh , so now we're, we're sitting, we're recording this during a pandemic where it feels like in one of our leaders, athletes said, you know, Tommy , what the world is experiencing right now, this trauma that the world is experiencing, that's what we experienced all the time. But now everybody's experiencing that. And so this is why I think the church of the future has to be trauma informed. Uh , and you, and I think we might've coined this bro, I'll give you all the credit because you're the one with the degrees, but we like trauma informed discipleship. Like, how do we help the church , uh , walk and suffer well with people and having the skillset and the understanding of framework for trauma informed care. And so, so really quick, how about you help us, like frame out, because I think for a lot of our listeners, for a lot of our leaders and , and a lot of you guys out there listening, can we be honest? You and I are, we're , we have trauma and a lot of times we just, you know, it's not a big thing and we just keep on pushing forward friends. The more healing you have, the more you can give away, right? You can't give away what you don't have. And so this is so important, not only for the youth and the people you work with, your communities, it's important for you. So Dave, can you give us like a framework for trauma informed care , uh , in the church and why it's important?

Speaker 2:

Yes. And you know, tagging, tagging along with what you just said about her current coping pandemic. One of my hopes is that, you know, with the current pandemic, kind of making clear that we're all kind of experiencing this mass group trauma together, I'm hoping that that might actually open a window for us, like for church leaders and churches to recognize that not only did we have to experience this covert trauma, but there's actually many other different kinds of trauma that's always been in the church all along that maybe we just haven't noticed yet.

Speaker 1:

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Speaker 2:

when we think about this notion of trauma informed discipleship, it's not just meant for the small minority of people out there with special needs. It's not just meant for this population that we're trying to minister to that's outside of the church. But you know , it's kind of we're us and that's them and that the traumas with them. And I hope that it, we , we kind of come out of this with this idea that, Hey, trauma is here as much as it is out there and we need to incorporate it within our discipleship work here as well as our outreach efforts as well.

Speaker 1:

Oh man. So, and I'll just throw this in there and then you can give us the framework. But , um , reality is too, is how much has the church inflicted the trauma. Yeah. And that's a whole new , I mean, we can't even, we can't even get into that, Dave. But , um , but when, when you talk about your research on , uh, on show humility for leaders, I think must be , will be like, Oh, that's nice. But I'm like, no, that could be world changing because a lot of the power structure, we're in the leadership that we've inherited and learned from it, dysfunctional and it creates the trauma and people are leaving the church. They're going no to Jesus because of the, what they've experienced in the church. So, dude, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

That's a topic for a whole nother podcast. Oh man. There's actually some interesting research out there on , um, the prevalence and impact of narcissism among Christian leaders. Um, I think to be clear, I want to make sure to say that, you know, most pastors out there are narcissists, but there is something about the ministry context that will tend to attract a narcissistic personality. And when a narcissistic personality is given authority within the church or a ministry , um, the potential they have for just hurt and destruction , um , of peoples' lives and of ministries is just unparalleled.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, man. So, okay. So maybe we'll have you on another episode for sure, brother, cause we got to talk about that stuff. But all right . So give us a, give us a framework for a trauma informed care , um , in the church and why it's important.

Speaker 2:

Sounds good. So the main idea behind trauma informed care is the question of, you know , how do we work with, how do we interact with , um , and as a pastor, I'm really most interested in this. How do we care for individuals who have a history of trauma? And trauma can take many different shapes and forms. It can involve emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, different forms of violence , um, combat trauma. Um, so , so all of that is all , uh, fits into that category of trauma. So how do we work with, how do we care for individuals who have a history of trauma in a way that is understanding and in a way that is responsive to their unique needs? And , uh , perhaps even more importantly, how do we do all of this in a way that doesn't inadvertently end up re-traumatizing them? Because unfortunately, a lot of times we can come in with these good intentions. We want to care for people, but when we miss these, when we miss this population where there's trauma in the room, but we don't recognize what it is, it's possible for us to miss people in such a way where we actually make it worse. We ended up retraumatizing. And the reason why trauma informed care is so important is because we usually can't tell who it is that has a trauma history and who , who, who it is that does. And there's a lot of reasons for this. You know , first of all, like people who have a trauma history, they're not going to talk about it openly . It's not something they're going to share with everyone. That's not something that they're going to share with strangers. And it's usually a form of suffering that is hidden. You know? And unfortunately it's a form of suffering that's hidden within the church that, you know, beyond the kind of exterior that we put up on Sundays, this is something that people are actually caring and not bringing up in church and not bringing up before God and for others. There's a lot of people that don't even know to call it Trump. You know, they've suffered through some stuff, but they don't know to, you know, I didn't know that was called a trauma. That's what I hear from a lot of people. And they didn't really connect the dots of, you know, they didn't connect how so many of their current and their past struggles emotionally, relationally, even physically, how they're , all these struggles are actually tied to their past Trump , you know? So educating people about trauma. Yeah, go for it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, dude, really quick on that, man. I think that's so important, especially for our listeners. We all come from a lot of different cultures and a street culture that that like reinforces like, nah, I'm good man. Nah , that's just the way it is. Like not like, and we don't recognize it. It feels like weakness to us. Right. Um, but then we, we medicate or, or it pours out in all these like really destructive ways. Right. Um, and so, man, that was such a good point, man. Sorry , I didn't mean to interrupt your day flow, but I know, yeah, I know for our listeners, man, I listen up cause he's dropping some knowledge for you man. So I'll go ahead Dave. Sorry brother.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And, and, and that , um, that sentiment and that, that spirit that you were just communicating, that makes a ton of sense. And , um, I think a lot of us don't want to admit that it's trauma because we want to be strong and um, and sometimes there's a lot of times in life where we just have to suck it up and be strong and power through because if we don't, we're not going to survive. Right. Um, but the problem is that even though , uh , trauma is psychological in nature, it actually affects not only our emotions but affects our body. And research has found that trauma actually reshapes our brain. So it's fair to look at this as if you were looking at a disease that has impacted our physical body because that's, that's true of trauma as well. And that's why it's so important to educate people, including people within churches, not only about what a trauma is, but also what traumatic stress reactions look like as well as the potential kind of multifaceted longterm impact of trauma. Because it's not something that we can just, you know, suck it and pray away and like all the effects are going to magically disappear. This is something that's profound and that will stay with us and stick with us in the longterm . And as a result , for those of us who are discipling people who are trauma survivors, those of us who are trauma survivors, ourselves and the church, we need to rethink the way we do discipleship. We need to rethink the way we do mentorship , um, to take more of a longterm approach and coming in with the assumption that Hey, what we're dealing with is not something that's going to be fixed really easily or really quickly. I need to come in with a mindset and a framework that's prepared to walk with this person over the long run as they go through this journey of recovery.

Speaker 1:

So going abroad has got a little, I got some chills, dude. So cause that, cause when I imagine that kind of church, Oh my gosh, how beautiful that is. And, and there are churches out there like that there , there's the body of Christ that suffers well with people. But by and large, we don't see that in the institution. Right. Uh , when you were talking to you, it kinda reminded me of , um , it brings new light to that scripture that talks about the renewing of the mind that is not just spiritual, that's a part of the holistic approach to God , uh , changing our lives. But the renewing of the mind. If, if trauma is rewiring the mind, yeah . Then then that can become a prison that keeps us from the presence of God. That keeps us from becoming who we're created to be. That, okay, let's get real. That keeps , um, the students that, that our people work with and the people in the communities that our people work at . It stops some of the fruit that we all desperately want to see and , and we're all wondering like, do what , what's their problem? You know, how come they're not coming to church and how come they're not praying? And because, because we're, we're not offering, we don't have a framework to engage them in the place that they're at. So I love that man. So, I mean, continue to talk a little bit of Dave about why you think the church could be such an important vehicle in the, in the healing process of that , um, for people in this world and, and for trauma.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, great question. And before that I just want to touch on another point that you just raised and it's this idea that, you know, if we want to rewire our brain, it's a little bit like digging a ditch. We have to do it in one shovel full at a time. We can't expect it to all happen all at once. And if you think of a person who's grown up and all his life, there was this belief that I was good for nothing and I'm carrying the shame and all of this trauma, all of these problems are fundamentally my fault. And how often that belief has been reinforced through years and decades of what is life. That is a very well formed neural pathway in their brain where they're going to interpret a lot of the events in their life through that framework. And for us kind of for us to renew a mind like that, it's a , it's not going to just happen overnight. Uh , and w we really need to take that longterm approach in speaking of churches, I can't think of a better kind of body of individuals than the church when it comes to , um , being a healing force and of recovery for this kind of thing. You know, I , um , I'm a pastor with you at our church in Fullerton, one life city church. And like you, I have a firm foundation affirm conviction that , uh , not only is the church, the body of Christ, but the church is the hope of the world, right? And at the same time, the church is also a place where people are traumatized. It's a place where people are profoundly hurts. Um, and this applies not just to congregation members. It also applies to the pastors as well. You know, so one of the things that I speak on , uh , internationally, a common topic I speak on is the topic of emotional wounding from the ministry context because that is so common in my, I'm a licensed clinical psychologist and in my private practice I see many pastors, Christian leaders, missionaries that have been hurt so deeply by the ministry, they've been hurt so deeply by the church and how, and I've observed that so much of this hurt can cut so deep that it actually begins to resemble a psychological trauma with similar longterm effects onto their physical health, their emotional health as well as their spiritual wellbeing as well. In fact, there's this one research study that was just hot off the press , uh , conducted by a colleague of mine. We do research together. His name is Steven Sandej out of Boston university. And he collected data from a sample of over 250 pastors and religious leaders. And he found that over 80% or approximately 80% of their sample of pastors reported experiencing some kind of events that might've been traumatic in which they felt overwhelmed, fearful, or helpless. And then he collected data among these pastors about how many symptoms of traumatic stress that they're experienced . And they found that over 50% of this sample of pastors, 50%, 6% and specifically either met, potentially exceeded the threshold for a diagnosis of PTSD or were at or close to that threshold . You know, we can't diagnose from just this one piece of data, the survey, but it puts them in that category where they need to get formally assessed. And this is really what we're looking at, even among the leaders of our church come home , man. I mean, yeah, this is, that's why we're saying the church of the future has to be trauma informed and the future is here. Um , because when you're, you're saying all

Speaker 1:

this, like the research of it, I go, man, and then throw a pandemic on it like this. It's incredible. So man, dude , I love that. Well, okay , so Dave, let's, let's give , um, I'd love to give some people a framework for , um, just even how this is kind of like playing out for you and I, right? So we have a church , um, and one life state church, Fullerton, California, right? Um , the church is located in, in, in a hood, in the Vario , right? Um, in a neighborhood , uh, in, in Fullerton. And , um, I've walked through solidarity. I've walked with people for some 16 years. Right? And so a lot of those young though, or kids when they're coming up through our programs now are adults and they're there . They come up out a third of our churches as those people, right? That, that grew up with us and know us well. We had an experience where a lot of, a lot of those , um, they were used to be kids. They're full grown adults now, you know , um, come from trauma, a lot of traumatic events in their lives. And so as they're trying to follow Jesus and we're working with them and walking with them, suffering with them, right through 10, 15 years, I realized , Dave comes, you know, we start this church, Dave and I, and um , Dave starts to bring his expertise to the table. Well, we have this one experience where a young woman , uh , who's part of our church had gone through some, some , some deeply hurtful experiences and trauma and , um, and Dave offered, right? You offered to walk through that process , um, with us and you did some group counseling for us. And so what was beautiful is that through a number of sessions , uh, this young lady , um , found real healing , um , not now fully, but man, I, she experienced real healing, some breakthroughs that I hadn't seen in years. And so I walked through that with you, Dave. Right ? And you led that and it was wonderful. But what struck me was how long it took to see real healing comfort for that young lady who I had been walking with for 10 years. Right. Like, talk to us a little bit about that process and what you see , um, kind of how that played out in our, in our work, and then how does that inform, what should the church of the future look like in regards of what are your hopes for that in regards to this kind of understanding of trauma informed care?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And you know, with that situation, I really chalk that up to the Lord. I felt like a lot of it was being at the right place at the right time. I know I'm yourself and several others in our church community has, they've been with this young woman , uh , through thick and thin over the last, you know , over a decade easily. You know, you guys are considered, she sees you guys as family. There's that built trust. And , um, and at the same time she just reached a point where she was ready to confront and go into these dark memories that understandably she doesn't want to go back to because they're horrible memories. No one wants to remember those things, you know. But , uh , her courage inspired her to go, you know, I need to, I need to face up to this, you know, and that's when , um, the community surrounded her and I kinda just stepped in and provided a framework. But you all just kind of, you guys took it from there, you know? And , um, and I still, even though I'm trained as a psychologist and you know, have some good experiences , um, as a Christian, I will still be the first one to say that God is the ultimate healer, you know, and whenever possible, if God's working , uh , and healing and individual, that's the best situation. I just want to come alongside and get out of the way. And then I think that was partly what happened, but, but you know what, one of the things that that got me thinking about, you know, one of the things that precipitated or kind of set that up was this a sermon series that we actually taught together , uh, the year prior. And that was a four week, four part sermon series on limits. And , uh, in that sermon series on limits , uh , what we ended up doing is we interviewed different people from the church and you were one of the , you were the first one to be interviewed and you , you really set the stage and model this wall for the rest of the church. And what I did is I've interviewed these individuals in our church and I asked them to share , uh , not just a story, but to share their story and to share their story about some sort of longterm hurt in their life. You know, the kind of hurt that doesn't just go away, it doesn't have this neat kind of clean resolution that you typically hear at churches. You know, like a lot of testimonies like, Oh, you know, everything was all messed up and now it's all, you know , we're not doing that kind of thing. Right? It's one of those, like, I've, I've learned to cope with it, but it's still an ongoing source of pain. And , um, and I was just amazed at how vulnerable and how willing people were to go there, you know , uh, with me and sharing those things. And I remember there's this one week where I did this really mean exercise with our church and I asked them to practice this , uh , uh , with each other. Of course they didn't have to if they didn't want to. And what I did is I asked some people to split into small groups of two to three and one person in that group to share about some longstanding hurt that probably won't get resolved. And then my assignment for the other two was just to hold back, to be present, to bear witness to their suffering, to kind of suffer with and just to not saying anything, just to listen and bear weight. And then as you're doing it to observe how your heart is being cooled . And as we were debriefing that together, everyone was just saying, Hey pastor Dave, that was so difficult. That was like torture, you know, like for me to not try to say something to fix this and just bear witness to somebody else's suffering. I felt like these are kind of the building blocks, kind of foundational pieces that I would love to see the church of the future embrace more because this is how we need to accompany each other. We need to get real with the stuff that's in our hearts and the realities and the crap that we, that we had to survive. And , um, and this stuff needs to come up before God. And this needs to be incorporated right in the middle of our discipleship process.

Speaker 1:

I love that man. So, okay. So for our leaders, give us like, give us a couple thoughts on what , what should they walk away with from our conversation today? Um, you know, so that , um , for our hope for the church, that the church of the future will be trauma informed. That that there'll be a, there'll be a , a debt , another layer of discipleship for the church, a framework , um, for, for our leaders and pastors to , to embrace so that they suffer well with people. Right. And we see the healing , um , that God desperately is unleashed , wants to unleash on the world, but, and , but receive, you know what I mean? Uh , what are some, what are some things that you would just want some of our leaders, some of our listeners to walk away with?

Speaker 2:

Good question. I think the first thing I'd like people to walk away with is that the impact of trauma, it's longterm . It's longterm . Even for Christians, even for Christians who pray or honestly even for Christians who love Jesus, the impact of trauma is longterm . So we have to look at this from a longterm perspective. I feel like so much of our ministry frameworks, we don't necessarily articulate it in this way, but so much of our ministry mindset is on a short term basis where, you know, if I can just figure out that one lie that you're believing in and then just correct it, then it's all gonna kind of magically disappear. Or if I can just pray for you in that perfect way, then all of this is gonna get better. And , um, and I'm not saying you don't speak into people's lives, that you need to speak into people's lives. I'm not saying you shouldn't pray for me to keep praying, but healing prayers, but the progress is going to be incremental. It's going to be one step at a time. You know, and I feel like what can be discouraging for trauma survivors as well as Christian leaders, those alike is that we sometimes get discouraged that maybe, you know , why did Jesus not just take all of it away? You know ? And when we see trauma kind of pop up in the future, it's all good . We almost take that as evidence that well, maybe all of this was worthless. Maybe I'm back to square zero. You know? And what I want to do is just encourage everyone and say like, Hey, you know, this has to, this is a longterm process. We're going to move a couple steps forward. Cups , steps backwards. And even God in the process, especially with the garden and the process, it's still going to look that way. And , um, and we need to reexamine our frameworks for ministry so that it's not this kind of boom in and out. I'm doing my ministry, but it's more of a, Hey, take my hand. I'm going to walk with you in the long run. Because that's really what people need. They need people who are present in their lives, hold their hands, walk them, walk with them through this journey as you did with that young lady, right? And earn that trust and be present in their life. And the reason why we need to be present in each other's lives in the long run is because that's what Jesus modeled , right? When we look at the doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus , um , he could have stayed in heaven, but he didn't because his value of suffering with his people led him to be born in a major and to live a life here on earth and to suffer the worst, most gruesome death here on earth. Right? And , um, so he wasn't one of those, you know , gods that just kind of jumped in and out and saved us and went back to heaven. He got down and dirty and stayed with us in the longterm and just like he did that, he's still doing that with that with us now. Like God is a God that suffers with us. And that's really the posture that we should take when we walk alongside a company. People who are suffering Trump .

Speaker 1:

So good man. So a couple, a couple of things I heard you say through our podcast. One, we got to recognize how prevalent trauma really is. So friends please hear that today is that we have to recognize how prevalent trauma really is. It is a massive part of our world today and of the people that you're walking with and the people in your church and your organization and your community. So recognize that. The second thing I really heard you say , uh, Dave was that trauma is longstanding . That this is a long process, right? I have a friend who says Jesus is inefficient, right? Which I know offends a lot , bunch of people. But look, what we're saying though is that Jesus took time, right? And God's walking with us here. And so it's not always the quick like, okay, yeah, okay, what's your problem? Okay, there it is. Boom. Because the problem with that is , um, then it's, it's not dynamic. It's just me doing ministry to you and then you miss all the things that God wants to heal in your own life. And so there's that. And the last one that I heard you say is , I kind of summarize that it's theologically, we gotta do a better job at preaching and teaching a more nuanced, right. And you said this to me and true to scripture, but a more nuance redemptive narrative of , you know, teaching about the role of negative emotions within the Christian life. You have , you wrote that to me. Um, and that was something that, that I've learned from you that there's gotta a deeper , uh , engagement , uh, on that. So a couple of things for being a walkaway with. One of the things that as we kind of wrap up, Dave, one of the things that struck me as you were talking , uh, is that this changes our success metrics. Yes . That this, that , that we're saying the church of the future should look like is, is maybe a little bit slower. Maybe. Maybe it's, it's, it's slower, it's more, I love how you're talking about nuance. It's deeper engagement. It's suffering with which by the way, friends is extremely difficult. That's why a lot of churches don't do it. You know, there's cause you get tired of people. But I'm telling you from living this out last 20 years and trying to understand it and suffering well some days and other days not doing it so well and, and understanding that is that the depth of what I understand God's grace to be his redemptive power, his salvation is so deep and beautiful and this is the life that I want young people, this next generation that is rejecting Christ in his church. That's what I want them to experience. Friends, what I love about Dave, what I love about our , our church, what I love about our leaders at UIW, why , what I love about urban leaders is that, did they do this well already, but imagine if they were, if you guys listening, we're even more healthy. You had a different framework, something that really helped you walk deeply with young people towards their healing and that you were healed in the process of that revolution's done. I was like, that's the church that I hope for brother . So as we in do , do you have anything else that you just want to kind of leave with us or share?

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Wow. And I mean, I, there's this wonderful phrase and term that I think was coined from st Francis of Assisi and he talks about the work of a pastor or the work of a spiritual shepherd. And the phrase he uses to describe this is that a shepherd is familiar with the odor of the sheep. You know , an odor isn't in smell, you know, so this idea of, you know, you can be in the complete dark, you don't even see your sheep, but you have been present in their lives so long and you're so familiar with their ways how they think and they're like that. You can just sense their presence and know it's them just by their odor,

Speaker 1:

you know? And, and that's the kind of thing,

Speaker 2:

longterm accompaniment model that we need to come in with because we can't mass produce this kind of thing . It has to, it's one person at a time, just as God walks with us. That's how we model with other people. And I love what you talked about with the redemption narrative, how it needs to be more nuanced. I feel like theologically, a lot of times we , uh , unknowingly take on kind of what I call a triumphalistic redemption narrative. This idea of, you know, well, Jesus died on the cross on good Friday, but he resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday. And therefore, you know, all your suffering is now worthwhile and redeemed and it was for good. And , and I feel like what is extracted from that is this idea of to be Christian means I'm going to be positive all the time, you know? So if I were to encounter or feel any kind of negative emotions, it's almost like I'm not being a good Christian or this is not what being a Christian means, you know? Um , and that's simply not from the Bible, you know? And that might make sense for people who don't have trauma histories. I actually don't think it even makes sense for them. But especially for people who have trauma histories. This is not only not true, but it's destructive and isolating and it makes us feel that perhaps our story isn't part of the Christian story. When in reality our faith is built upon a trauma. Jesus died on the cross. So if, if in fact, if anything , uh , for those of us who have survived a trauma in our life, you are in the majority within the history of the church.

Speaker 5:

Oh bro, I love that.

Speaker 1:

I mean, and , and that's what, that's what this next generation needs to hear and understand. Cause no , I honestly, Dave , I, I feel like no one's talking about that man. So, Oh bro, it's so good. Hey, thank you so much. Dr. David Wang. Dave, my man , uh , my co-pastor , my brother , uh, thank you so much for being on and you dropped so many nuggets. I mean, I think people are, are going to relisten to this over and over again. And , and you should because there's things that were in here that give a vision for what the church of the future should be. And that church should be trauma informed. I know that Dave and I are working on some , uh, on some resources and there's some other resources out there , uh, for trauma informed care, but we're gonna make sure to get you guys some of those resources so that you know, have a framework and can start actually using this with your students, with your leaders, with your community. So Dave, thank you so much, brother . Bless you. Thank you so much, friends. Join us next time on the futures here. Podcast . I'm Tommy Nixon, your host peace .

Speaker 6:

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