How to Help People in Crisis with Phil Niekerk

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Life is unpredictable. Good and bad things happen when we least expect it. In this session, Phil Niekerk, Senior Small Groups Pastor at Ada Bible Church near Grand Rapids, shares vital information that will help us care for people going through crisis.

As you watch this video, consider what you’d do if you got the call.

When tragedy strikes, people often feel helpless. It’s critical to have an emotional support system ready. Listen as Phil discusses four ways that we can help someone in crisis.

Phil said that the goal of this training isn’t to help you “fix” the situation, but to give you greater comfort and confidence when dealing with people in crisis. Why is it important that we don’t rush to tell someone that everything is going to be okay and quote Romans 8:28 to them?
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Phil mentioned four things we can do to give tangible care to someone in need. We can:
  • Affirm that the situation is bad.
  • Affirm their emotions.
  • Affirm that God is good, through prayer.
  • Affirm that you’ll take steps together.

As you look over that list, are there any that are particularly hard for you to do? Any that are easy?
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Take a moment to jot down these four affirmations. You might want to keep them in your wallet or purse or on your phone.

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As important as it is for someone in crisis to know that their group, and you as the leader, will be with them, they may also need additional support to make it through this calamity. In this next video, Phil talks about three kinds of people that can come along side a person in crisis and offer support.

Phil mentioned three types of people you can connect a person in crisis to:

  • Running partner – someone with a similar experience who goes through it with you.
  • Running coach – a wise expert.
  • Aid stations attendants– People who offer refreshment/carry some of the mundane burdens.
If you don’t know who would be a good “running partner” or “coach,” call or email me and I’ll help you find the appropriate person. Usually, your small group can act as an effective aid station. Take some time during your next small group meeting to talk about what the group would do in a time of crisis. You don’t need to get people signed up for any specific duty yet, but get them thinking about how they’d respond when a crisis hits.

Now watch this true story about how a small group helped Maryanne through a horrible situation.

Why do you think this small group was effective? Jot down some different ways they helped? What can you learn from them?
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No one wants crisis to come. But if you are prepared for it, you can make a lasting difference in the life of one of your group members and their family. No matter the situation, don’t forget to pray for God’s guidance and wisdom as you deal with those in crisis.

For other RightNow Media videos, training posts, and study resources dealing with people in crisis, click here.