Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries-The Vent Group:
Have you ever felt the pressures of life, the job, and stress mounting up to such a point that you felt you were going to explode?
We know that pressurized cylinders & containers have devices in place to relieve the pressure if the pressure reaches a dangerous level. These PRV’s are there to help alleviate the pressure and bring things back to a manageable level.
Bringing Back Brotherhood is offering a very simple concept to firefighters. It is called the Vent Group.
We are in the process of gathering fire service leaders to serve as Vent Group Supervisors. They will conduct a video conference on a fire service topic and model how the group should be coordinated.
It is our goal to help develop groups like these across the country for firefighters. It will be a place to relieve pressure, receive encouragement, and support.
Are you interested in being a vent group supervisor? Are you interested in being a part of a vent group? Let us help you help one another.
It is our mission; will you be a part of it?
The Vent Group: How to get involved
The Vent Group will be made up of 5-7 fire service members (including the Vent Group Supervisor).
The Vent Group Supervisor will be responsible for setting up the Vent Group Assignment. These groups will meet every four weeks. The meeting will last between 30 minutes up to and not to exceed 1 hour. If the group feels that they did not finish or give adequate attention to the topic they will resume the discussion in their next meeting.
Each group can meet face to face if their schedules permit or the Vent Group Supervisor can schedule a Vent Group Assignment via their choice: Google Hangout, Skype, Goto meeting.
The Vent Group’s topics for discussion will be determined after the first meeting. Each member will introduce themselves and voice any particular topic they would like to discuss. After the meeting the Vent Group Supervisor will have taken extensive notes on each member and pray about the topics to discuss over the next year. Each topic should build upon the last. Each discussion should establish greater trust, comfort, and encouragement as you move forward. These discussions are to serve as a place for the fire service member to get things off their chest and to hear someone’s words of comfort not criticism.
An example of a 12 month topic discussion could be this:
1) Introductions, background, particular topics of interest
2) How did you get involved in the fire service?
3) What was your first incident that you had difficulty dealing with?
4) Suicide, LODD’s, Disasters, tragic death of a child, etc
5) Where do we go from here? Sharing pain and helping them see that they are not alone
6) Where do you struggle?(go over symptoms of PTSD) Irritability, lack of sleep, dreams/nightmares, avoidance, detachment from family/friends, marital issues, hallucinations, substance abuse, difficulty concentrating
7) Forgiveness-Forgiving yourself, others, and asking God for His
8) Reconciliation-Using tragedy and personal experiences to lift others up
9) Writing their testimony
10) Preparing them to lead others
11) Situational Awareness-Now that you have been through a group setting, who do you know that could benefit from what you have learned?
12) Sharing the Gospel and Multiply the effort-
Vent Group Supervisor:
A fire service leader, mentor, who is respected and cannot be directly connected to any of the individuals in the group by department, relation, or position of bias. Preferrably someone trained in CISM, counseling, ministry,
Vent Group Supervisor must:
1) Possess good people skills ability to read the room and know how to keep the process moving forward.
2) Have served in a leadership position with significant background experience in dealing with personnel issues and conflict resolution.
3) Be an individual of integrity. The Vent Group Supervisor isn’t perfect but they must be exemplifying the characteristics of a mentor. They have suffered much therefore they have much to offer. There is no testimony without a test.
4) Be willing to share but most of all be willing to listen, encourage, comfort, and motivate
The Vent Group Supervisor’s roles and responsibilities- Pick a topic to discuss that is personally related to him/her and the fire service. This topic must be something The Vent Group Supervisor has personal experience with. He/She will open the group by welcoming everyone, brief intros if necessary, and then introduce the topic.
The vent group supervisor will then share a very personal testimony about the topic. It requires someone who is willing to be vulnerable. In order for others to trust you with their wounds they first must see yours. This should take no longer than 5-10 minutes.
The Vent Group Supervisor will then facilitate discussion but not force it. If a member isn’t comfortable yet do not beat them into opening up. This is not a “fix it” group. It is a place of comfort, confidentiality, and encouragement.
This environment is a ministry effort. We will be upfront with each member that it is led by Christian men and women. We will tell them in the very beginning that it is our hope that they would have a close and personal relationship with Christ but we will not shove it down there throat. The Gospel is meant to be shared not shoved.
This environment will first cultivate the soil of there soil as to prepare their hearts for the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is a process of sharing our personal testimony then the word of God. It is by telling our personal “Jesus story” that we will share His love. It is ultimately up to God and their heart to decide if they want to take the next step but it is our responsibility to share His love.
The Vent Group Supervisor will remind the group throughout the discussion of the basic ground rules.
Vent Group Rules:
When discussing personal issues names of individuals and department names must be omitted. The group will not share any of these issues or topics outside of itself with only one exception. If any individual threatens to harm themselves or another individual it will be reported. We are not mental health professionals and will seek to save our own if the need arises.
* Speech: Profanity is not encouraged but if someone has a loose moment we will not criticize them. As fire service professionals we understand the pain and the language that often comes with it. We want to encourage the members to open up even if at first it’s a little rough on ourselves. The Vent Group Supervisor will remind them that their prayer is to have a heart big enough to hurt with them but not absorb their pain.
* Be Nice-When one individual is sharing there will be no firehouse banter or jokes about their story. We will not allow quick fix answers. This simply invalidates the person and makes them feel small. Their problem is important to them and it is more important for them to talk through it then for you to fix it. Negative or Angry speech towards anyone within the group will be grounds for removal from the group.