Ministry is loving people in transition… and for most change is uncomfortable. Because change involves shifting from the known to the unknown change can cause people to feel anxious or stressed out. I find this to be especially true in women. Why? Perhaps because we need to feel secure and safe. For many women the anxiety they feel from changing circumstances causes them shift into controlling behavior in an attempt to regain the peaceful feeling of stability. Stress and anxiety can make people very sensitive. Every look, every whisper, and even the most innocent of discussions can be taken wrong. As ministers it is important to keep in mind we are loving sensitive people in sensitive situations. I had to chuckle yesterday as I walked my favorite trail. God speaks to us everywhere if simply look for him It is always best to respond to facts and not feelings It is always best to respond to facts and not feelings – anyway – the above sign stopped me right in my tracks. Women in general are a sensitive species and there are so many sensitive area’s of our life. (i.e. marriage, children, appearance, weight, friendships, homes). We must be careful where we step as we love, comfort, guide, and point others to Jesus who are in transition.
- Be sensitive to and full of the Holy Spirit. While this goes without saying it is so easy to get busy once we start our fall programs. Remember the ministry of today can not be fueled by yesterdays quiet time. Go to the well first!
- Be sensitive to what is said and how – actively listen. You don’t have to have a witty comeback or even advice. Many women don’t feel heard. They just need you to listen.
- Ask questions. – Never assume you know what is going on. Use phrases like “tell me more”, “lean into that for me”, “How does that make you feel”. Sometimes the feelings and the facts don’t add up. It is always best to respond to facts and not feelings. When emotions can be processed in a healthy and safe environment facts become more clear making it possible to formulate an action plan.
- Never try to fix. Don’t use “you should”, and don’t tell your story. In fact refer to #2.
- Be available. Never underestimate the ministry of presence. Being there is the greatest gift we can give to women going through transition in sensitive area’s of her life.
- Do pray with her. Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see and ears to hear how he wants you to help her. Help her look for and recognize God at work in her circumstance. His presence restores her peace!
What about you? What has worked for you in the past?