When you spend time in the trenches of Middle School Ministry, you will eventually face situations and circumstances with your students and their families that you just don’t feel qualified for.
Sometimes, when families are faced with trials, pain, or suffering, we feel as though we can’t help.
Have you ever felt like you were thrown into a situation with a family where no training could have prepared you to adequately care for them?
But I’ve learned, over the years, that helping families through these difficult moments isn’t actually as hard as I thought.
The best help, though, hasn’t come from any bag of tricks that I’ve kept in my office.
The best help for these moments, I’ve found, has simply been “the power of presence.”
Presence is the secret, I think, to leading beyond your capacity. And, in suffering, this means two things.
1. WE GIVE OUR PRESENCE.
To shepherd students and families, we must be fully present with them in their pain and suffering. Think back to a time where you were in a very difficult place in your own life. What was it that meant the most to you in that time? I’m going to guess it was a person being present with you, rather than a program or a sermon.
When students or families are hurting, our physical, emotional, and spiritual presence with them will be what matters most. If you feel as though your presence is not enough, or if you feel like you have nothing to offer, remember… you have much to offer.
In suffering, we have our own presence to offer. And, too..
2. WE HAVE THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT.
We have the opportunity to partner with the Holy Spirit by walking alongside students and families during difficult times. Because our presence is not enough, we must lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us.
The Spirit helps us discern when to be with them, when to speak, when not to speak, when to encourage, when to listen, when to pray, and when they may simply need a hug.
In the face of suffering, it’s this combination of our presence with families, and the Holy Spirit’s presence with all of us, that can help us lead, shepherd, minister, and comfort far beyond our own capacity.
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you, not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)