Operational Stress First Aid (OSFA) was originally developed by the Department of Defense for use in dealing with soldiers in very stressful situations. It has been found to be an excellent tool for training pastors, deacons, elders, and lay leaders to minister to people in any type of a crisis situation.
For several years, Endel Lee; who has served as head chaplain for SBC Disaster Relief and as a military chaplain, has been working on a field manual for D.R. Chaplains. From his experience with using OSFA in the military, he discovered that it had a much broader application in the civilian setting. OSFA is now required and part of the official training for all Disaster Relief Chaplains. Mike Carlson, who is the pastor of New Bridge Church in Winterset, was introduced to this training in 2011 when Endel began teaching OSFA. Mike said, “I was amazed how simple and yet profound this tool was. I knew immediately how valuable it would be for me as a D.R. Chaplain, but also serving as a pastor. I also quickly realized that it would be of great value to many of those people in my church who desire to minister to hurting people. Almost daily we encounter people who are dealing with a crisis or stress in their lives.”
OSFA provides some valuable tools to assist leaders in identifying stress problems as early as possible, as well as providing information designed to help these leaders take appropriate actions to restore people to full function. The “Stress Continuum Model”, which provides the foundation for OSFA, recognizes that all people and their families will react in certain ways to the stress of disasters and crises.
Cal Callison the Associate Pastor at New Bridge Church, received the OSFA chaplain training and train-the-trainer training at the regional D.R. roundtable event in Des Moines last August. Cal said, “I was privileged to be trained in the material by Endel Lee. I primarily work with Student Ministry at my church and can see great benefit in having leaders in our churches who know how to care for people in any crisis or stressful situation.” We all are touched by stress. We all know people who are controlled by it. In every person’s life there are events that happen that might seem to be simply unfortunate to some; but to others, they are a crisis. As pastors it behooves us to have several tools in our toolbox to help people deal with a crisis, a disaster or stress as we point them toward Christ. The bottom line of OSFA is that it makes us better ministers.
You do not have to be a chaplain or pastor to attend this training. Anyone who is interested in Disaster Relief or would like to know more about helping people is stressful situations is invited to attend.
Where: At New Bridge Church (Formerly First Baptist), 1305 West Jefferson, Winterset, Iowa
When: Friday March 22, 5:30pm- 9:00pm
Saturday March 23, 8:00am- 2:00pm
Cost: $15 to cover the meals
Housing: People can stay in the church, which is the normal DR housing. The church has showers. Individuals will need to bring their own air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow and towel. There is a Super 8 Motel located at 1312 Cedar Bridge Rd. Winterset, 515.462.4888
If you have any question you can contact Mike or Cal, and they’d love to talk to you about OSFA. You can contact Mike Carlson at 515.321.1761 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Cal Callison at 515.462.0305 or email@example.com