WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? What do you do when pain interrupts your group? When no subject is off limits and a group shows genuine care and vulnerability (which you should), pain will come out in the middle of group time.
WHAT DO I DO? How do you handle it? Here are some thoughts:
- Listen to what is said and not said. This requires attentiveness. Some will tell what is going on in their lives. Take time to listen and show empathy. Empathize with persons in pain. We all experience pain in life. After listening, decide on next steps: Prayer for the person. Who else needs to know–with permission? Care in the moment and beyond. Perhaps a person is tearing up and not talking. Take time after class to talk or set up a time to talk.
- Use Care Group Leaders to help you care during the week. A teacher cannot do it all. I recommend care groups, much like a deacon family ministry plan.
- Have an active prayer chain/prayer ministry. Pain happens during the week as well. Ask Care Leaders to contact you, and have them contact people on their list to pray for those in pain.
- Empower people in pain to find the resources they need. Some people can develop a co-dependency to your care. Help them discover strength within themselves by referring them to professional counselors for long term recovery. Certain types of pain need therapy. Don’t try to handle them on your own. Ask your Pastor for referrals that would be helpful.
Pain happens to all of us. Be prepared to help the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit.