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Free virtual event seeks to equip and empower church leaders on mental health issues

Spiritual First Aid

Free event for church leaders presented by Hope Made Strong and Spiritual First Aid

Spiritual First Aid will join forces with Hope Made Strong to present the Church Mental Health Summit. The free online summit for church leaders is a one-day event that will be available on-demand Monday, October 10th from 7:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. ET.  Featured speakers include such prominent industry leaders in faith and mental health as Dr. Diane Langburg, Rich Villodas, Matthew Standford and many more.

“It’s an honor and privilege to collaborate with Spiritual First Aid in presenting a gathering of world-class speakers, pastors, and those with lived experience to equip the local church around the globe to support mental health in their churches and communities,” said Laura Howe, Founder of Hope Made Strong. “On-demand sessions will address mental health issues—from leadership wellbeing to strategies for pastoral care—that matter most to church leaders. This free event gives access to top-tier training for all.”

With the increase in mental health issues and the fact that people are more comfortable going to their church for support rather than to medical professionals, there is a greater need for ministry leaders to be equipped to support mental health needs.  

By attending the Church Mental Health Summit, participants will be equipped with practical tools, engage with Biblically-based resources, and learn research-developed strategies to support mental health. 

We’re thrilled to partner with Hope Made Strong for the Church Mental Health Summit,” said Jamie Aten, co-founder of Spiritual First Aid and Founder and Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute. “It’s a much-needed event, since recent studies show that approximately 70 percent of church attendees will experience a trauma at some point in their life and more than 30 percent of pastors are at high or medium risk of burnout. The more we understand our emotional and spiritual struggles, the more likely we can take action to overcome them.”

The summit’s presentations are organized into 4 tracks:  Global Health, Community Health, Church Health, and Leadership Health. Sessions are open to all participants for free on October 10th. 

Participants can join the 50+ presenters for uplifting messages of hope and practical resources that will educate and encourage them to better serve their churches and care for their communities. Speakers include:

  • Dr. Jamie Aten – Founder and Executive Director, Humanitarian Disaster Institute and Blanchard Chair, Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College
  • Kent Annan – Director, Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute
  • Dr. Diane Langburg -  Psychologist and international speaker
  • Dr. Karl Benzio – Medical Director, American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)
  • Dr. Matthew Stanford – CEO, Hope and Healing Center & Institute
  • Laura Howe – Founder, Hope Made Strong
  • Cheryl Nembhard – Founder and Soul Care Coach, The Lighthouse Project
  • Dr. Gregg Jantz – Founder, The Center A Place of HOPE
  • Michelle Neihart – Licensed Professional Counselor, Your Mental Health Coach
  • Kobe Campbell – CEO &  Lead Therapist, The Healing Circle
  • JS Park – Hospital chaplain, published author, and viral blogger
  • Brad Hoefs – Founder and Executive Director, Fresh Hope
  • Rich Villodas – Lead pastor, New Life Fellowship Church
  • Dr. Xavier Amador – President, LEAP Institute
  • Marty Sawyers – President & CEO, Full Strength Network
  • Steve Grcevich – President and Founder, Key Ministry
  • Daniel Whitehead – CEO, Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries
  • Kayla Stoecklein – Widow, Author, & Advocate, Rebuilding Beautiful
  • Thad Austin – Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Congregational Engagement, Duke University

Upon registering, summit-goers will receive access to a password-protected website with sessions that can be viewed on October 10th.  For those who wish to view sessions after the event for staff training and volunteer onboarding, a $79 All-Access pass is required.  Purchasing an all-access pass gives lifetime access to all the summit videos.  Additional information and registration for the event are available at


Dena J Dyer
Spiritual First Aid
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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