You are a Christian leader, people come to you for help. That’s part of the role–and rightly so. But how do you manage it? Sometimes there’s too much to do and the needs are overwhelming. Other times, the type of help being asked for can push you adrift from your primary mission. What to do? 

As a Christian and a ministry leader, you also know how to discern the voice of God. You know what it feels like when God is prompting you, directing, or pushing you to see something differently. 

Let’s put those two things together for a solution: access that Spirit-led discernment in how you respond to requests for help. 

5 Ways to Discern How to Help

5 ways to know how to help

1. Know your limits

Just as it is when someone comes to you personally with a problem, you need to know what you can do to help and what you can’t. It’s like the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” You can’t make it okay for everybody, and you need to accept that– not just intellectually, but emotionally. 

2. Know God’s power

Just as important as knowing what you can’t do is knowing what you can do… or rather, what God can choose to do through you and through others. Sometimes he’s up to something. Don’t place limitations on what God might do. Even the power of being quiet and listening can make a significant difference in people’s lives. And we never know how God might use us, use others, or alter circumstances in miraculous ways. 

3. Lean on your network for resources

Very often, people need something that we or our own ministry cannot provide. That’s okay. No one ministry can–or should–do everything. Make referrals as appropriate. Know other non-profits in your area. If something needs help with job-hunting or skills training, odds are another ministry is called to do just that. Lean on the whole body of Christ. 

4. Lead on your community as a resource

It’s not just you” should be a mantra on every Christian leader’s mirror that they see each morning. You personally don’t need to do everything. You are part of something much bigger than just you. Structure your church so people don’t only go to the pastor for help. Train and empower lay leaders, other staff, small group leaders, and the congregation at large. They are all the body of Christ. It’s not just you. Then think how amazing it would be if not everyone needed to talk to the pastor about everything. 

5. Practice personal discernment

Sometimes, when you are listening and discerning, an unexpected need or opportunity will come to you. Ask yourself, “What can I do to express care, concern, love?” Then do it. It doesn’t need to be huge or miraculous, but who knows what God might do? When you come across a need, do what you can. Many days feel ordinary, one coming directly on the heels of the last without much variety. Yet if we look closely, and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, we can begin to identify what God may be up to. If we pay attention, we can see the hand of God at work in our lives, and in the lives of those around us.


Just as Barnabas empowered Paul, and Paul empowered Timothy, you can have an impact that multiplies far beyond yourself. Much of my Christian Coaching model is founded in the biblical person of Barnabas. To learn more about Barnabas and how to harness the power of encouragement, read Becoming Barnabas.

It’s time to reimagine church and ministry. Imagine…

  • Less volunteer and pastor burnout.
  • Your leaders fully supported and growing in their roles.
  • Your community confident in their calling and working cooperatively within the body of Christ.
  • A discipleship model that meets people where they are, and comes alongside them to help them take the next best step in their walk with Jesus.

All of these things are possible with a vibrant ministry coaching community and Barnabas Ministry is just that!

Barnabas Ministry Training

Modeled after Barnabas and his biblical example of the power of encouragement, coaching is an invaluable tool to help your people and ministries flourish in their unique callings and functions within the church and the community. Barnabas Ministry Training makes developing quality coaches at the grassroots level doable:

  • Without flying your people to a training event
  • Without hiring a trainer to come in and speak to your people
  • Without asking your laypeople to commit large chunks of time

This turnkey kit is a simple and reproducible system for local churches looking to provide basic coach training for their staff and lay leaders. Training can be done in small groups or even via video conferencing. Each of the 8 learning units includes instruction, discussion, and practice. Included in this downloadable kit is:

  • Facilitator Guide
  • Participant Guides
  • Access to online video instruction by Dr. Bob Logan

Reasonably priced and available for immediate download: CLICK HERE to purchase

Photo by Anna Shvets