Transitions are inevitable. We all experience some type of transition at different points in our life. We go through them as church leaders. Families in our churches experience them, too. Transitions can be positive and challenging. For some, it may be adding to their family by birth or adoption. Others may be relocating to a new city. Some families may receive a diagnosis of a health illness or learning difference. These are just a few of the many transitions the families under your leadership may experience. Through my years in ministry, I’ve observed these general commonalities in many families experiencing transitions:
- People have an opportunity for growth.
- People may experience grief.
- People may be more sensitive to everyday situations.
- People may experience anxiety.
Although I’ve observed some probable characteristics, I’ve also noted many unique points as well. We must seek to understand each family and their situation in order to best minister to them. Below are practical ways to minister to families during transitions:
- Remember to give grace to others. More than likely, you aren’t aware of all the family is going through and the details of their situation.
- Pray for and with them. It’s encouraging to know people are praying for you. It’s even a bigger blessing to hear them praying aloud for you.
- Provide in tangible ways if needed. Ask families, “What needs to be done?” rather than, “Let me know if I can help.”
- Provide practical help. Some may need help beyond your expertise. Connect them with a professional in that particular field. Share blog articles, books and podcasts to help them in their situation.
- Listen. Ask questions to help them process. Many times, people just need someone to listen to them as they process what they’re experiencing. Also, some people process differently and may not want to talk about the situation. Honor their request.
- Ask the family if they would like you to connect with others who have experienced a similar situation.
During times of transitions, we as church leaders can set an example of ministering to others. What additional ways would you add to the list to minister to families?
Delanee Williams serves as a Ministry Specialist with LifeWay Kids. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Delanee has served in kids ministry for over twenty years and is passionate about developing, equipping and encouraging leaders.