Written by Andrew Waugh
You can download the PDF of this resource here.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Ask for his help; without that you’re in trouble; and he does want to help
LEARN TO LISTEN
Nod and grunt; reflect back what they’re saying, especially the ‘feeling’ words; NEVER say “I know just how you feel”; resist the urge to tell a long, similar story of your own
… and what pushes your own Big Red Buttons; this helps you not to overreact
THERE ARE 3 SIDES TO ANY STORY
… the first side you hear isn’t always the truth. The third side is GOD’s version of events
CONFIDENTIALITY & PROMISES
…..NEVER promise total confidentiality. This is one of the few non-negotiables
SPIRITUAL < > PHYSICAL
When someone turns up with a spiritual problem, consider it possible there’s a physical cause; and vice versa
ALL CHANGE IS BEREAVEMENT
… so go gently with the ones who aren’t keen on the changes you’re introducing
GRIEF TAKES TIME
…eg the loss of a close family member; 18–24 months is the earliest you can expect them to get back on an even keel; dissuade them from making major decisions too early. See this article for further help
KNOW THE BIBLE
…. eg before you counsel against sex outside marriage… `where’s that in the Bible, eh?`- are you ready for that reaction?
…are you on call 24hours a day? would you drop everything for their emergency? Say “let’s meet for an hour”. Sit where you can see a clock.
If someone mentions thoughts of suicide, gauge the real risk by asking how often they think about it and whether they’ve thought of a method. Don’t worry; these questions will not encourage suicide. See this article for further help
GET HELP IF NECESSARY
You don’t have to be omni-competent or able to cope with every problem
…be aware of possible offence or misunderstanding when cultures collide
MAINTENANCE IS BETTER THAN REPAIR
A regular, genuine ‘how are you?’ or ‘sorry’ may save hours of repair work later
Don’t let bad feeling fester for long, and get someone else to pray while you’re confronting anyone
THEY NEED TO KNOW YOU KNOW
Remember personal details, and find ways to communicate “I know the contribution you’re making”
ANSWERS & ADVICE…?
You might genuinely have some, but, bottom line, it’s not your responsibility to have all the answers. Ask them to suggest bible verses that speak into their situation. If none are forthcoming, ask God for some.
TWO USEFUL QUESTIONS NEAR THE END OF YOUR TIME TOGETHER:
‘What do you think is the most important thing you’ve told me?’, and ‘Is there anything you think you should you do as a result of what you’ve told me?
LOVE IS SPELLED T,I,M,E
80% of success is turning up (quote from Woody Allen) We often don’t know what to say or how to help, but turn up anyway and so give the Holy Spirit something to work with.
Group question: In a 1-on-1, How do you know when you’re not being listened to?
A previous group’s answers included….
- Wrong responses
- Looking at watch
- Answering too early
- They finish your sentences
- Looking elsewhere
- Reading the newspaper
- Body language
- Inappropriate eye contact
- No questions
- No follow up
- Memory failure