Why look for the pain? The point of pain is where the power of the gospel is at its strongest. Only when we find the pain (and it IS there) can we move toward healing.
Four steps to uncovering the pain:
- Listen. Prayerfully listen to what people are saying. What are their concerns? What are their repeated prayer requests? Ask questions that allow people the opportunity to open up about what’s going on their lives.
- Relate. Build bridges with individuals in the church. Develop and deepen personal relationships. It’s surprising how often people in church leadership don’t do this.
- Debrief. Conduct exit polling. Those who leave the church are dissatisfied. They are essentially saying, “You can’t help me anymore.” These are also the people most likely to open up and be honest about why they’re leaving, since they aren’t worried about maintaining an ongoing relationship.
- Investigate. Discovery the hurts of your community. The pain outside the walls of your church is likely to be similar to the pain outside your church, unless your church is extremely disconnected from the wider community. Don’t make the mistake of assuming Christians are immune from the struggles of non-Christians.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4 TNIV)