Jamie Aten, Ph.D., is founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College. Follow on Twitter at @drjamieaten or visit jamieaten.com.

Posts By This Author

Living in the Tension Between Grief and Gratitude This Holiday Season

by Kent Annan, by Jamie D. Aten 11-23-2020

Though Thanksgiving 2020 isn’t canceled—like just about everything else this past year—it needs to be different. Because of this, it is currently not safe to travel or gather in the ways many of us typically do. This need to do differently has left many Christians split and pitted against one another.

8 Questions Your Church Needs to Ask Before Reopening

by Kent Annan, by Jamie D. Aten 05-27-2020

Image via Shutterstock/Pasquale Senatore

2. Do we understand how church life is inherently different than other expressions of civic life?

While many of the businesses that have stayed open, or are being authorized to reopen, are inherently transactional, what happens in churches in inherently social and relational. We eat together; we sing together; we embrace one another; we care for one another’s children. These familiar patterns have been ingrained in us through years of meeting together, and will be challenging for many to shake even when we know the risk and have a plan in place.

States Are Reopening. Should the Church?

by Kent Annan, by Jamie D. Aten 05-12-2020

Man at work cleaning the floor waiting for the reopening of the church. Turin, Italy. Photo by MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com

While states haven’t been imposing restrictions particular to houses of worship, they have thus far been limiting social gatherings, many states restricting groups to no more than 10 people. As they begin allowing gatherings of up to 50 people, and eventually larger gatherings with specific protective restrictions in place, church leaders will be making decisions about how church life resumes.

10 Ways To Do Online Church Without Losing Community

by Jamie D. Aten, by Kent Annan 04-20-2020

A screenshot shows choir Sola rehearsing online using a Zoom platform in Riga, Latvia April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Janis Laizans

Churches across the country are learning that loving one another and our neighbors — while physically distancing ourselves from them — is possible.

Stay Home While Celebrating Easter

by Jamie D. Aten, by Kent Annan 04-06-2020

Image via Reuters/Yves Herman

This moment when you’re pausing to re-imagine Easter worship is ripe with possibility. How can you invite folks in the congregation to share and to lead? Yes, you can invite specific individuals to prerecord Scripture readings or prayers, but why not let them share their hearts? Ask a few folks to share, in 60 seconds or less, how they’ve see the body of Christ love and serve during this season.

How to Talk to Your Aging Parent about COVID-19: A Thoughtful Approach to Conversations

by Jamie D. Aten, by Kent Annan 03-17-2020

If you’re more tech savvy, socially networked, or otherwise resourced than your aging parents, you may be tempted to believe that you’re responsible for the way they will weather this season of COVID-19. Invite your loved ones into a conversation that honors all their experience and wisdom. At the same time, be mindful that even though they are your parents, they may need your help taking necessary precautions. Together you can discover and implement measures that support them during these uncertain days.

The Radical Power of Lament

by Jamie D. Aten 04-12-2019

Each spring Lent is a season on the church calendar, beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter, which prepares Christians for Easter. The believer prepares his or her heart to celebrate Christ’s resurrection by embracing practices of prayer and repentance. An important part of experiencing Lent is walking through lament.

6 Things to Remember In the Wake of the Aurora Shooting

by Jamie D. Aten 02-19-2019

City of Lights Community Prayer Vigil in Aurora, Ill. Photo Courtesy of Jamie D. Aten. 

Two days after a brutal workplace shooting in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, where five were killed and six were injured, over 1,000 people joined together for a prayer vigil at the Henry Pratt Company plant, filling the street near the building where the shooting occurred. As several local pastors shared prayers with the huge gathering of mourners, the only sounds that broke the silence between prayers were quiet sobs. Beside a gate connected to the plant, people placed flowers, candles, and signs.

I'm a Christian, Disaster Expert, Psychologist, Researcher, Father, and Friend. We Need Gun Action Now

by Jamie D. Aten 02-23-2018

Bob Ossler, chaplain with the Cape Coral volunteer fire department, places seventeen crosses for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on a fence a short distance from the school in Parkland, Fla. Image via Reuters/Jonathan Drake

As a Christian, a husband and father, a friend, a disaster ministry expert, a researcher, and a psychologist — I believe we need to take action to stop gun violence in our country. Here’s why.

I've Dedicated My Career to Disaster Ministry. Here Are 3 Ways Churches Can Be Prepared

by Jamie D. Aten 11-14-2017

Image via Rick Wilking/Reuters.

I’ve dedicated my career to helping churches prepare for disasters, including mass shootings. And I believe that responding to the Texas church mass shooting with an arms race does more to protect fear than it does to protect our churches. Here are three suggestions I want to offer the U.S. church now.

5 Ways to Help Flooding Victims in Louisiana

by Ed Stetzer, by Jamie D. Aten 08-17-2016

A resident transfers his belongings into a boat after being rescued in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, on Aug. 15. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman 

Thinking of jumping in your car and driving to Louisiana to help those affected by the flood? Wondering how you could mail some food or hand-me-down clothes to help? If you answered yes — don’t do it.

Yet, that is.