Empowering the church to reach hurting kids.

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Reach Hurting Kids Institute

Reach Hurting Kids Institute is an interdisciplinary team of researchers, mental health professionals, and children’s ministry experts. We provide trauma-informed children’s ministry resources that empower the Church to reach the hurting kids in our congregations and communities.

The Book

The Book

Discover practical, trauma-informed strategies to reach the hurting kids in your church.

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The Workshop

The Workshop

The only evidence-based trauma training designed specifically for children’s ministries.

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Our resources extend from nearly ten years of cutting-edge children’s ministry science.

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Empowering the church to reach hurting kids.

Two out of three kids will experience at least one traumatic event during their childhood. These events have devastating effects on children’s minds, hearts, and spirits, leaving them feeling afraid, out-of-control, rejected, and worthless. We believe that God cares for these hurting kids and desires to bring healing and restoration into places of pain and brokenness.

We believe that God calls His Church to actively participate in His healing work by creating loving faith communities where all kids experience safety (Isaiah 41:10), peace (1 Peter 1:13), acceptance (1 Cor 12:12), and worth (1 John 3:1).

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
He delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
– Psalm 34:17-18

The urgency of this mission is only increasing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, childhood anxiety and depression have doubled worldwide. Countless children are suffering – even those who appear fine from the outside – and few of them are finding places of hope, healing, and refuge.

From 2000 to 2020, suicide attempts by children aged 10 to 12 increased by 450%. Devastatingly, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among kids aged 10 to 14.

In response to this crisis, Reach Hurting Kids Institute offers research-based trauma-informed children’s ministry resources to empower the Church to reach the hurting children in our congregations and communities. Together, we will tear down the barriers that prevent hurting kids from coming to Jesus and welcome the most vulnerable among us into the family of God.

1 in 3

kids will experience at least one traumatic event during their childhood.

1 in 4

kids aged 4-17 have clinically elevated depression symptoms.

1 in 5

kids aged 4-17 have clinically elevated anxiety symptoms.

Suicide attempts by children aged 10-12 have increased 450%

The Book

Trauma-Informed Children’s Ministry

Good intentions are not enough. Our hurting communities crave authentic churches that are fully equipped to reach all children. This powerful, groundbreaking book will help you cultivate caring relationships, eliminate challenging behaviors, encourage your team, and amplify your church’s impact in the community.

Trauma-Informed Children’s Ministry: A Practical Guide to Reaching Hurting Kids is the culmination of ten years of research in the field of children’s ministry science. Written by research psychologist Dr. Robert Crosby and play therapist Lori Crosby, this easy-to-read book is full of real-world stories and practical strategies for ministering to kids who have experienced trauma.


The Reach Hurting Kids Workshop

You want to equip your team to reach hurting kids. Unfortunately, you don’t know how to train them yourself, and you don’t have enough money to hire a professional. That’s why we created the Reach Hurting Kids Workshop, an engaging, evidence-based curriculum that allows you to teach your own team the principles of trauma-informed children’s ministry. Developed through a generous grant from the Louisville Institute, our curriculum includes everything you need to put on a professional-quality trauma workshop for your staff and volunteers.

Research shows that participants in the Reach Hurting Kids Workshop have a significantly better understanding of trauma, and they are more likely to respond supportively to problem behaviors. In an increasingly traumatic world, these skills are essential for every children’s ministry team. Don’t wait. Find out how you can bring the Reach Hurting Kids Workshop to your church or organization.

Advancing the Science of Children’s Ministry

Advancing the Science of Children’s Ministry

Reach Hurting Kids Institute is built on nearly ten years of scientific research by our dedicated collaborators. Our research has focused on the church as a context for child development, with an emphasis on the ways churches can foster resiliency in children and promote healthy spiritual, emotional, and social development. Our team’s research has been published in a variety of high-quality, peer-reviewed academic journals and has been cited repeatedly in dissertations, textbooks, and other research in the field of psychology of religion.

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Additional Resources

Training and development are key to a successful trauma-informed children’s ministry. There is a wealth of resources (beyond this website) that can help you and your team develop your trauma competency.

Additional Resources
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