Leadership

How to Suffer Well With Your Church Members

Jesus not only weeps as we are weeping, He takes action to make our lives better. We should follow in Jesus's example and take the time to mourn with our congregants who are mourning and then also look to the Lord to see if there's something we can do to help alleviate their suffering.

Some might say that I've had more than my fair share of suffering. I lost my eldest daughter Abbe when she was murdered just four years ago under incredibly tragic circumstances. My other daughter, Bryn, continued to suffer with addiction after spending extended time in rehab. I have three failed marriages under my belt. I lost a brother to a gun accident and almost lost my other brother to suicide. The list goes on. Loss is not a foreign concept to me.

Understanding suffering and the blessings that can come out of seasons of suffering is important in our walk with Jesus. I dedicated one-quarter of my new book, More than Gold: Reflections on Living in Glorious Freedom, to the subject.

In my book I describe my story of growing up as a Christian, yet living a life of compromise for most of my years. It wasn’t until the age of 46 when I gave my life to Jesus that everything changed. Today I can say with full honesty that God has redeemed my life from the pit, and I am living a life full of joy because of the amazing things that He has done to heal my heart. The restoration that Jesus has provided for me and my daughter Bryn in the last few years as we pursue Him can only be described as supernatural.

Suffering without Jesus almost destroyed my life and my family. Suffering with Jesus changed everything.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I have personally experienced the power of Christ overcoming the world in my own life and heart. Because of what I've been through, Jesus has given me the opportunity to compassionately reach out to those around me who are also suffering and suffer along with them.

This is not an easy task for those of us who are uncomfortable with open displays of emotion. In our culture and society, at least in my generation, showing what one feels is often interpreted as a sign of weakness. If we reveal our weakness, it makes us feel vulnerable and most of us hate feeling vulnerable.

But Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 

Not only that, but the Bible teaches us in Romans 12:15 that we are to enter into that place of vulnerability not just for our own pain, but also with those who are facing their own trials. It says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” As believers in Jesus, we must come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ and mourn with those who mourn. 

But how do we do that? How do we enter into the suffering of our brothers and sisters the way that Christ would have us do so? One step is being present with others. Being present allows us to build relationships and begin to understand the stories of our people.

Are you aware of those in your congregation who are suffering? 

You can’t suffer with people if you don’t know they’re suffering. This can be difficult because a lot of people won't share their suffering with you unless you’ve built a foundation of trust with them. 

Suffering with others requires relationship. 

However, getting people in your congregation to trust you can be difficult because people have often been hurt by leaders in their lives, teachers from their past, or parent-figures. Helping people know that you care can be one of the most important things that you do to build trust.

3 Ways to Care For People in Your Church

  1. Take the time to get to know people and find out their felt needs.
  2. Pray for God to give you His heart for those people and for God to meet their needs.
  3. Continue to be others-focused in your relationships.

These three things will help to build a foundation for trust so that when suffering does occur or current suffering is made known to you, you can help to bear the burdens that they are carrying. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Taking the time to get to know people can seem overwhelming for some in church leadership. However, it is an essential part of being in the body. 

Why did you join the ministry in the first place? Just to stand on a stage and talk down to people? 

Certainly not! 

We need to relate in true fellowship with each other. Communion is a connection to Christ and to each other. Galatians 3:28 declares, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Praying for God to give you His heart for the people in your life will change the way that you see them. God is such a loving father that when He gives us His perspective of others’ lives, it is always going to help us see them with love, mercy, kindness, and grace. As we continue in our relationship with others, it's important to remember that caring and nurturing those relationships regularly is necessary for the longevity of our friendships.

Being others-focused helps us recognize when others are suffering and be more in tune with people’s needs and how to serve them well as a minister. This requires good listening skills, too. Truly listening and not problem solving or fixing can provide the comfort and care they require. Being a compassionate, empathetic friend is a good representation of Jesus Christ. We get to represent Emmanuel, God with us, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Mourning Like Jesus

After all, Jesus mourned with His friends Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus, even though Jesus was well aware of everything that was going to happen. John 11:35 states, “Jesus wept.” Although we don't know all the reasons why He wept, one could be that Jesus wanted to show how deeply empathetic God is. He also reveals in this moment how deeply connected to our suffering He is.

Jesus not only weeps as we are weeping, He takes action to make our lives better. We should follow in Jesus's example and take the time to mourn with our congregants who are mourning and then also look to the Lord to see if there's something we can do to help alleviate their suffering. Take the time to be with them and be there for them. Be the leader who will be there years down the line as they continue to recover. Ask God what specific thing you can do to help relieve some of the suffering of those in your church.

If there is a good foundation of trust built, then they will know you will show up in the midst of their deepest pain. And by your willingness to bear their burdens with them, loving them sacrificially, you will be fulfilling the law of Christ.

***

More Than Gold: Reflections on Living in Glorious Freedom will be available on Amazon on March 17, 2023. Pre-order on Kindle today and don’t forget to check out Bryan’s new podcast along with his daughter, Bryn, The Father Pursuit where they dedicate three episodes to the critical role suffering has played in their lives.

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Some might say that I've had more than my fair share of suffering. I lost my eldest daughter Abbe when she was murdered just four years ago under incredibly tragic circumstances. My other daughter, Bryn, continued to suffer with addiction after spending extended time in rehab. I have three failed marriages under my belt. I lost a brother to a gun accident and almost lost my other brother to suicide. The list goes on. Loss is not a foreign concept to me.

Understanding suffering and the blessings that can come out of seasons of suffering is important in our walk with Jesus. I dedicated one-quarter of my new book, More than Gold: Reflections on Living in Glorious Freedom, to the subject.

In my book I describe my story of growing up as a Christian, yet living a life of compromise for most of my years. It wasn’t until the age of 46 when I gave my life to Jesus that everything changed. Today I can say with full honesty that God has redeemed my life from the pit, and I am living a life full of joy because of the amazing things that He has done to heal my heart. The restoration that Jesus has provided for me and my daughter Bryn in the last few years as we pursue Him can only be described as supernatural.

Suffering without Jesus almost destroyed my life and my family. Suffering with Jesus changed everything.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I have personally experienced the power of Christ overcoming the world in my own life and heart. Because of what I've been through, Jesus has given me the opportunity to compassionately reach out to those around me who are also suffering and suffer along with them.

This is not an easy task for those of us who are uncomfortable with open displays of emotion. In our culture and society, at least in my generation, showing what one feels is often interpreted as a sign of weakness. If we reveal our weakness, it makes us feel vulnerable and most of us hate feeling vulnerable.

But Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 

Not only that, but the Bible teaches us in Romans 12:15 that we are to enter into that place of vulnerability not just for our own pain, but also with those who are facing their own trials. It says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” As believers in Jesus, we must come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ and mourn with those who mourn. 

But how do we do that? How do we enter into the suffering of our brothers and sisters the way that Christ would have us do so? One step is being present with others. Being present allows us to build relationships and begin to understand the stories of our people.

Are you aware of those in your congregation who are suffering? 

You can’t suffer with people if you don’t know they’re suffering. This can be difficult because a lot of people won't share their suffering with you unless you’ve built a foundation of trust with them. 

Suffering with others requires relationship. 

However, getting people in your congregation to trust you can be difficult because people have often been hurt by leaders in their lives, teachers from their past, or parent-figures. Helping people know that you care can be one of the most important things that you do to build trust.

3 Ways to Care For People in Your Church

  1. Take the time to get to know people and find out their felt needs.
  2. Pray for God to give you His heart for those people and for God to meet their needs.
  3. Continue to be others-focused in your relationships.

These three things will help to build a foundation for trust so that when suffering does occur or current suffering is made known to you, you can help to bear the burdens that they are carrying. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Taking the time to get to know people can seem overwhelming for some in church leadership. However, it is an essential part of being in the body. 

Why did you join the ministry in the first place? Just to stand on a stage and talk down to people? 

Certainly not! 

We need to relate in true fellowship with each other. Communion is a connection to Christ and to each other. Galatians 3:28 declares, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Praying for God to give you His heart for the people in your life will change the way that you see them. God is such a loving father that when He gives us His perspective of others’ lives, it is always going to help us see them with love, mercy, kindness, and grace. As we continue in our relationship with others, it's important to remember that caring and nurturing those relationships regularly is necessary for the longevity of our friendships.

Being others-focused helps us recognize when others are suffering and be more in tune with people’s needs and how to serve them well as a minister. This requires good listening skills, too. Truly listening and not problem solving or fixing can provide the comfort and care they require. Being a compassionate, empathetic friend is a good representation of Jesus Christ. We get to represent Emmanuel, God with us, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Mourning Like Jesus

After all, Jesus mourned with His friends Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus, even though Jesus was well aware of everything that was going to happen. John 11:35 states, “Jesus wept.” Although we don't know all the reasons why He wept, one could be that Jesus wanted to show how deeply empathetic God is. He also reveals in this moment how deeply connected to our suffering He is.

Jesus not only weeps as we are weeping, He takes action to make our lives better. We should follow in Jesus's example and take the time to mourn with our congregants who are mourning and then also look to the Lord to see if there's something we can do to help alleviate their suffering. Take the time to be with them and be there for them. Be the leader who will be there years down the line as they continue to recover. Ask God what specific thing you can do to help relieve some of the suffering of those in your church.

If there is a good foundation of trust built, then they will know you will show up in the midst of their deepest pain. And by your willingness to bear their burdens with them, loving them sacrificially, you will be fulfilling the law of Christ.

***

More Than Gold: Reflections on Living in Glorious Freedom will be available on Amazon on March 17, 2023. Pre-order on Kindle today and don’t forget to check out Bryan’s new podcast along with his daughter, Bryn, The Father Pursuit where they dedicate three episodes to the critical role suffering has played in their lives.

podcast transcript

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H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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How to Suffer Well With Your Church Members

How to Suffer Well With Your Church Members

Jesus not only weeps as we are weeping, He takes action to make our lives better. We should follow in Jesus's example and take the time to mourn with our congregants who are mourning and then also look to the Lord to see if there's something we can do to help alleviate their suffering.

Show notes

Some might say that I've had more than my fair share of suffering. I lost my eldest daughter Abbe when she was murdered just four years ago under incredibly tragic circumstances. My other daughter, Bryn, continued to suffer with addiction after spending extended time in rehab. I have three failed marriages under my belt. I lost a brother to a gun accident and almost lost my other brother to suicide. The list goes on. Loss is not a foreign concept to me.

Understanding suffering and the blessings that can come out of seasons of suffering is important in our walk with Jesus. I dedicated one-quarter of my new book, More than Gold: Reflections on Living in Glorious Freedom, to the subject.

In my book I describe my story of growing up as a Christian, yet living a life of compromise for most of my years. It wasn’t until the age of 46 when I gave my life to Jesus that everything changed. Today I can say with full honesty that God has redeemed my life from the pit, and I am living a life full of joy because of the amazing things that He has done to heal my heart. The restoration that Jesus has provided for me and my daughter Bryn in the last few years as we pursue Him can only be described as supernatural.

Suffering without Jesus almost destroyed my life and my family. Suffering with Jesus changed everything.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I have personally experienced the power of Christ overcoming the world in my own life and heart. Because of what I've been through, Jesus has given me the opportunity to compassionately reach out to those around me who are also suffering and suffer along with them.

This is not an easy task for those of us who are uncomfortable with open displays of emotion. In our culture and society, at least in my generation, showing what one feels is often interpreted as a sign of weakness. If we reveal our weakness, it makes us feel vulnerable and most of us hate feeling vulnerable.

But Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 

Not only that, but the Bible teaches us in Romans 12:15 that we are to enter into that place of vulnerability not just for our own pain, but also with those who are facing their own trials. It says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” As believers in Jesus, we must come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ and mourn with those who mourn. 

But how do we do that? How do we enter into the suffering of our brothers and sisters the way that Christ would have us do so? One step is being present with others. Being present allows us to build relationships and begin to understand the stories of our people.

Are you aware of those in your congregation who are suffering? 

You can’t suffer with people if you don’t know they’re suffering. This can be difficult because a lot of people won't share their suffering with you unless you’ve built a foundation of trust with them. 

Suffering with others requires relationship. 

However, getting people in your congregation to trust you can be difficult because people have often been hurt by leaders in their lives, teachers from their past, or parent-figures. Helping people know that you care can be one of the most important things that you do to build trust.

3 Ways to Care For People in Your Church

  1. Take the time to get to know people and find out their felt needs.
  2. Pray for God to give you His heart for those people and for God to meet their needs.
  3. Continue to be others-focused in your relationships.

These three things will help to build a foundation for trust so that when suffering does occur or current suffering is made known to you, you can help to bear the burdens that they are carrying. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Taking the time to get to know people can seem overwhelming for some in church leadership. However, it is an essential part of being in the body. 

Why did you join the ministry in the first place? Just to stand on a stage and talk down to people? 

Certainly not! 

We need to relate in true fellowship with each other. Communion is a connection to Christ and to each other. Galatians 3:28 declares, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Praying for God to give you His heart for the people in your life will change the way that you see them. God is such a loving father that when He gives us His perspective of others’ lives, it is always going to help us see them with love, mercy, kindness, and grace. As we continue in our relationship with others, it's important to remember that caring and nurturing those relationships regularly is necessary for the longevity of our friendships.

Being others-focused helps us recognize when others are suffering and be more in tune with people’s needs and how to serve them well as a minister. This requires good listening skills, too. Truly listening and not problem solving or fixing can provide the comfort and care they require. Being a compassionate, empathetic friend is a good representation of Jesus Christ. We get to represent Emmanuel, God with us, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Mourning Like Jesus

After all, Jesus mourned with His friends Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus, even though Jesus was well aware of everything that was going to happen. John 11:35 states, “Jesus wept.” Although we don't know all the reasons why He wept, one could be that Jesus wanted to show how deeply empathetic God is. He also reveals in this moment how deeply connected to our suffering He is.

Jesus not only weeps as we are weeping, He takes action to make our lives better. We should follow in Jesus's example and take the time to mourn with our congregants who are mourning and then also look to the Lord to see if there's something we can do to help alleviate their suffering. Take the time to be with them and be there for them. Be the leader who will be there years down the line as they continue to recover. Ask God what specific thing you can do to help relieve some of the suffering of those in your church.

If there is a good foundation of trust built, then they will know you will show up in the midst of their deepest pain. And by your willingness to bear their burdens with them, loving them sacrificially, you will be fulfilling the law of Christ.

***

More Than Gold: Reflections on Living in Glorious Freedom will be available on Amazon on March 17, 2023. Pre-order on Kindle today and don’t forget to check out Bryan’s new podcast along with his daughter, Bryn, The Father Pursuit where they dedicate three episodes to the critical role suffering has played in their lives.

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