Crisis Intervention: A Biblical Perspective

bible picby Chaplain Tommy Davis

One of our chaplains, Rev. Donald Stevens, was recently commended for a job well done relative to an officer involved shooting.  There was an exchange of gunfire between Rochester Police Officers and a wanted suspect. The suspect was wanted for a double homicide that occurred a few days earlier.  The officer and suspect were wounded as well as an innocent bystander.

As a member of the Rochester Police Department’s Clergy Response Team, Rev. Donald Stevens was dispatched to the incident.  The goal of the Flower City Chaplain Corps is to perform faith based counseling for the spiritual, emotional, and physical support in times of need or crisis to our police, military veterans and their families, first responders, businesses, churches and the community.

This provided a rare challenge for our chaplains who are commissioned to provide support for our first responders and other members of the community.  While some organizations operate with a divided allegiance, our chaplain corps trains its chaplains to show zero partiality in strategically carrying out its operations.

While Master Chaplain Donald Stevens kept in contact with our command post, he executed his duties as a crisis chaplain to the point where he contributed to the quelling of tensions that naturally result due to these forms of traumatic events.

It is expected that family members of the wounded suspect would have some form of disdain regarding law enforcement procedures; and it is equally understood that officer involved shootings cause’s relationship hostilities relative to those they are called upon to protect and serve.   Thus, chaplains are called upon to perform what is termed “Pastoral Crisis Intervention.”

Pastoral crisis intervention is not merely crisis intervention services performed by those possessing a spiritual or religious focus. Pastoral crisis intervention is not pastoral counseling because those being ministered to are not necessarily religious or assigned to a parish.  Pastoral crisis intervention is the functional assimilation of pastoral activities with conventional crisis intervention/ emergency mental health services without compromising God’s written revelation.   It exemplifies a rich resource in times of human hardship.

It has been universally perceived that in times of crisis and disaster, many individuals seek out religious or spiritual leaders.  I am constantly reminded of my former professor’s admonition when he wrote:  “What does it avail if we are scholars in the fields of Pneumatology, Eschatology, Soteriology, Harmartiology and Ecclesiology, but lack the ability to comfort those who mourn?”

Therefore, as we continue to serve our community using a selection of resources, we understand that every new situation provides us the opportunity to breed new ways of using our means in order to help affected citizens regain control of their lives.  A basic characteristic of Jesus’ approach was His compassion for others (see Mark 8:2).  He gave people worth and priority over the religious traditions that had built up over time.  He served those who, in turn, became servants of others.

Lastly, in dealing with our culture of calamity, our chaplains know that someone has to take the lead in peacemaking, service, and acceptance.  Please pray for us as we continue to perform crisis counseling from a biblical perspective.

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