Making Your Small Group Work Tip 9

Tip 9: Responding to Someone Who Is Hurting

Responding to someone who is hurting means allowing them to express and process their pain in the context of the group. Emotional pain is a normal part of life, and therefore a normal part of group life. It’s okay to express hurt, grief, or other negative emotions, and the group needs to give permission for members to do this.

Biblical references:
• Proverbs 19:17—“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord”
• 1 Corinthians 12:26—When one part of us suffers, the rest of us suffer together

Why it’s important:
• People feel cared about when we respond
• It presents an opportunity for growth
• We learn how to respond to others

How to do it:
• Validate (identify with) an individual’s pain
– Draw out negative feelings
– Empathize
– Avoid: Minimizing; Spiritualizing; Ignoring/denying
• Offer comfort
• Offer prayer

Share Your Thoughts

Has your group struggled in this area? Share your stories and tips with fellow small group leaders in the comments section below.

Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is a popular speaker, and co-host, with Dr. John Townsend, of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! Radio program, and cofounder of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. His bestselling books include the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries books and Making Small Groups Work. Dr. Cloud and his wife and two daughters live in Southern California.

Follow Dr. Henry Cloud on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

John Townsend

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He is coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries and author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love.

Follow John Townsend on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

Bill Donahue

Dr. Bill Donahue is the author of the bestselling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Building a Life-Changing Small Groups Ministy (with Russ Robinson), Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman), and the Equipping Life-Changing Small Groups DVD.

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