Ministry: How to Help a Hurting Friend
This is a great idea for either a one time event or an ongoing ministry support group. There have been many counseling ministries that have grown out of support groups started in WM! The objective of this event/ministry is to have women who've "been there" give practical tips to the rest of us on how to be a true friend in times of need.
Target: All women (church attenders and others in the community).
We invited several women from our church to be on a panel – a young widow, a divorcee, a woman struggling with infertility, another with an anxiety disorder, and one whose husband is a recovering addict/alcoholic. (We limited the number for the sake of time, but there are plenty more we could have asked – and will ask the next time!) We had them each briefly share their story, then we had them answer these questions:
After they answered these questions, we opened it up for the audience to ask questions. A couple of the panel members also provided hand-outs with helpful tips regarding their topic.
- What did other people say or do during your time of crisis that helped you?
- What did others say or do that hurt?
- What do you wish others had said or done?
That evening was a huge success! Many tears were shed by all, and everyone left with wonderful, practical insights on what to do (or not do) to truly show their friendship to others who are hurting.
We can hardly wait to do this again for the benefit of those who couldn't make it to this one - as well as to hear from those with other types of stories to share (like cancer, unwed mother, etc.).
We provided light snacks for this event.
I (Women's Ministry Coordinator) personally asked the women to be on the panel and only if I knew, at least in general, what their story was and that they were not still right in the middle of the crisis. Following the event, I wrote thank-you notes to each woman for sharing so vulnerably from her heart.
Submitted by: Joyce Burrows, North Heartland Community Church, Riverside, MO.
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