Life Groups 102 – Support
by Jacqui Crumrine – Associate Pastor – Worship and Adults
It’s no secret that support is critical in life. There are powerful examples in the Bible of how support made a huge difference.
- Ruth supported Naomi after her husband and sons died by leaving her homeland and staying moving with her.
- Nathan the prophet helped David come back to God after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
- A wealthy woman provided food for Elisha and provided housing whenever he would pass by.
- A group of men carry their friend who couldn’t walk, lower him through a roof, so that Jesus could heal him.
- David and Jonathan’s friendship was deep and unwavering, supporting each other through extremely difficult situations.
- Moses and Aaron (brothers) worked together to lead God’s people. Moses was a great leader, Aaron supported him through speaking and even, literally, holding up his arms, with another friend, Hur, during battle.
- Barnabas befriended Paul and brought him to the other disciples, even after Paul had been persecuting the early church.
There are SO many examples of support throughout scripture. In fact, we are told many times that we aren’t supposed to be alone. We are created to be in community, like the Father is in community with the Son and the Spirit. Maybe I’m “preaching to the choir”. We all want to be in community and have support, so maybe…we don’t know how?
Being in supportive community starts with authenticity. We have to be real with ourselves and with others. If you have shallow conversations with others, they will have no idea how to support you. And likewise, if you only ask shallow questions, how will you know how to support? Here’s some tangible examples. Instead of ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ ask something specific:
- How is your family? Job? Hobbies? Health?
- How are you dealing with all the changes that Covid-19 has brought?
- How are you doing with God?
- Is there any way that I can be praying for you? Supporting you?
And then…keep going…
- Tell me more!
- How did that make you feel?
- How did that impact you?
You’ll be surprised how meaningful the conversations can be when we are willing to ask deeper questions and answer authentically.
But perhaps the greater challenge is that we are so distracted all the time? (That’s one of the reasons we just preached a whole series on time and margin, and even encouraged everyone to do a media fast.)
Attention is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Having a conversation is great but being heard isn’t enough. We have to pay attention. We have to listen…and remember! Attending to people with a responsive heart is one of the most concrete ways to express Christ’s love and support each other. What does attention look like?
- Make eye contact when talking. Literally, put your phone down and turn your face towards them.
- Be fully present. Try not to let your mind race and think about what you’re going to say next. But truly listen and hear what they are saying.
- Be patient, and don’t interrupt. We all talk at different paces. Leave room for them to sit in their own thoughts and share at their pace.
- Listen with a “third ear”…one that is tuned in to the Spirit. What might God be saying to you through this person? And what might God want to say to this person through you?
Finally, supportive community takes time. It takes time for relationships to form, but it also literally takes time. You have to set time aside in your busy schedules to care and support others.
- What if you devoted 15 minutes a day to call someone and just listen or pray with them?
- How many texts of encouragement and support could you send in 15 minutes?
- What if you met with one person a week to share life and encourage each other?
Any amount of time that you devote to supporting others and being supported will greatly change your life. This is a supply line. This is one of the great things about Life Groups! We want to truly support each other as we go through life. But this kind of care and support can extend beyond Life Groups. This is also evangelism. The world needs people to love, listen, care and support. Try it. I dare ya’. This week, focus on authentic conversations, pay attention, and set aside time. I have no doubt that it will change your relationships and deepen your sense of community.