We are so focused on ministering to students we can tend to forget to minister to our awesome volunteers on our team. Here are some suggestions when you have a team member experience tragedy or loss, hard times.
Pray. Don’t make prayer the last resort but make prayer your first priority. Pray and ask God to give strength, peace, healing to the one who is suffering. Don’t just say, “I’ll pray for you.” but pray with the person. Great encouragement can come when you hear someone pray for you. It’s nice to hear “I’ll pray for you” but praying then and there takes that encouragement to a whole new level.
Don’t worry about what to say. My wife and I have experienced some tragedies in our life together. As I think back what spoke the most to me was not words but the hug. The expressions of love and caring. Our words can’t fix the issue and there is always that danger of saying the wrong thing. A good hug and “I love you” can go a lot further than well intentioned cliche’s and words.
Give. Give time to help. Maybe offer to clean the house, run the kids around, babysit for an extended period. When someone is hit with a health issue that takes them out of work this often means they are making no money so now on top of the stress of the illness is the financial stress. What can be done? Cook meals, get your team together and cook meals and deliver them. Meals they can heat up. Go grocery shopping together as a team and stock their pantry and fridge. I don’t know what you spend each week on groceries but I know at my house it is one of the biggest expenses (12 to 15 gallons of milk a month is about fifty bucks or more).
Don’t just offer to help. Show up and help. People often say “let me know if I can do anything for you.” But when we are on the other end we sometimes don’t know what to ask help with or what to do. So show up with a plan and do it.
We hate tragedy. Tragedy can be a time that draws individuals closer to their Lord, tragedy can also be at time for your team to really step up and be the body of Christ. Tragedy can strengthen your team.