B. L. A. S. T. — “MINISTRY OF PRESENCE”
“B”. . .BRING COMPASSION: We start with compassion. We remind ourselves that the other is loved and treasured by God. We suspend judgment; we suspend our inclination to evaluate and think about what we would have done different. We see the other through the compassionate, loving, grace-filled eyes of Jesus.
“L”. . .LISTEN WELL: We work hard to hear what the other is saying. . .not only in their expressed words, but also in their body language, their facial expressions, and in the things they don’t say. We turn down the volume of our own internal dialogue and receive everything that the other person is trying to communicate.
“A”. . .APPLY PRAYER: We engage with the Holy Spirit, and we apply the power of prayer in whatever ways the Lord leads. Sometimes that means we pray out loud, and sometimes that means we pray silently. In whatever way we pray, we always focus on the other, lifting up their need for wisdom, comfort, guidance, assurance, relief from pain. . .whatever their need may be.
“S”. . .SIT IN THE DISCOMFORT: We sit with the other in their pain and their loss, acknowledging what we see and not leaving them to sit in it alone. We acknowledge how difficult their situation is, not diminishing or fixing or trying to make it go away.
“T”. . .TRUST THE SILENCE: We trust God in the silence. He is always working. He is always ministering in the circumstances, in the internal landscape of the one hurting. We understand that words are often inadequate. . .so we let that be!
What is the small group leader’s role in caring for others?
- We stay engaged; we don’t check out. We have to remain present with the group at all times, and we have to be listening to what is being said and how others are responding.
- Like a shepherd, we gently steer our small group members away from the unsafe places, such as fixing, giving, judgment and the other pitfalls we’ve talked about.
- We recognize when an issue brought to the group requires resources outside of the group. And we know where to go to find those resources.
- We use our coaches. We tap into their experience and their “seasoning” to provide the best care possible to the men and women God has entrusted to our groups.