Critical Incident Response Team

Published on September 26th, 2016

Indiana District’s Critical Incidence Response Team (IN-CIRT) is a Human Care service offered by the Indiana District to our Indiana District.

1. What is IN-CIRT?

INdiana District – Critical Incidence Response Team was formed in 2003 to provide on-site assistance to LCMS pastors for the people of their congregations, schools and communities at the time of a critical incident. The team is made up of volunteer pastors and lay leaders who will travel to your location ASAP, usually within 24-36 hours of services being requested.

2. What is a Critical Incident?

  • Casualty or suicide of a church worker
  • Significant traumatic event involving children
  • Multi-casualty accident or incident
  • Weather-related disaster
  • Loss due to fire, theft or crime
  • Knowing the victim of an event
  • A prolonged incident with loss
  • Excessive media interest
  • Any locally significant event causing trauma or serious change in life functioning

3. Who are these volunteers?

IN-CIRT volunteers will come to you to listen and respond to congregation, school and/or community members when they are impacted by a critical incident. Team members are all trained, certified and experienced in Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing (CISD) and/or Critical Incidence Stress Management (CISM).

4. What are CISD and CISM?

CISD and CISM both help people deal with their trauma by allowing them to talk without judgment or criticism about the incident as soon as possible after it happens. The people providing the service may come from all walks of life. Conversations are strictly confidential. The only exception is if the person providing the service determines that the person being helped is a danger to self or to others. This is the same training used by police, fire fighters, EMTs, and chaplains in the public sector. As Lutheran Christians, our volunteers include the Gospel in their conversations with people who have been impacted by a critical incident.

 5. What will members of an IN-CIRT team do?

When requested by the local pastor or representative of a congregation, team members will do any of the following.

  • They will provide a trained caring presence to listen to people in need.
  • They will encourage adults and children to verbalize trauma and stress reactions.
  • They will promote recovery and well-being of victims, staff, rescue workers and families.
  • They will help the pastor restore trust, hope, community and health.
  • They will use both individual and group settings as appropriate.
  • They will receive and relay essential information.
  • They will identify needs for follow-up or make referrals for additional assistance.

6. What will members of an IN-CIRT team NOT do?

  • They will not provide personal therapy.
  • They will not do extensive personal counseling.
  • They will not stay for an extended period of time.
  • They will not replace the pastor or local first responders.

7. How is a Team activated?

Contact the Indiana District office at 1.800.837.1145.  Outside of office hours, contact Dave Ebeling, Assistant to the President, at 812.322.6503.  All IN-CIRT members will be notified immediately of the request and will be asked to consider if they can rearrange their schedules to respond.  The number of responders will be determined by the nature of the incident and the availability of volunteers.

8. How soon will team members arrive? How long will they stay?

Volunteers are committed to serving if at all possible.  Our goal is to arrive at the scene of the critical incident within 24-36 hours of the request.  IN-CIRT volunteers usually stay one or two days in a nearby hotel.

9. Can others join IN-CIRT as volunteers?

Absolutely!  There are presently eight volunteers on this team.  We’d like to double that number.  Volunteers agree to participate in initial training (if not already certified).  They also attend one-day team meetings 2-3 times a year and make every effort to be available when a request for services is received.  Pastor Boshoven arranges these meetings and training sessions.

10. Who do I contact if I have questions or am considering becoming a volunteer?

Northwest Region
Rev. Richard Boshoven (team chair), Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church, Merrillville
Cell: 219-669-0877    E-mail:

Northeast Region
Lana Hille, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne
Church: 260-423-1369    E-mail:

Central Region
Carol Ebeling, Faith Lutheran Church, Bloomington
Cell: 812-345-2433    E-mail:

Southern Region
Rev. Paul Neuman, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Leesville-Bedford
Cell: 812-797-3693    E-mail:

Please download and share the official IN-CIRT brochure with your congregations and schools.