Being a Church that Helps Others in Distress

In this episode, Johnathan Arnold and Dr. Andrew Graham discuss helping others in distress.

Quotes from Graham:

  • The best way to assess whether or not someone is in distress is to look at any changes in their mood, affect, behavior habits—eating, sleeping—and how these changes affect their functioning.
  • There are people who are in distress while not yet disordered or dysfunctional or diagnosable.
  • One detrimental mistake is to automatically assume that a distressed person has a spiritual problem.
  • We can too quickly over-spiritualize distress or we can too quickly under-spiritualize distress.
  • In addictions counseling, a frequently used adage is: Your past may explain your behavior, but it doesn’t justify it.
  • Do not assume you know when someone is in distress or that you know the best way out.
  • There is no situation beyond God’s power to redeem and restore for His glory and our edification.
  • We can’t look at somebody and say that because they’re limping in the way that I limp, or because they’re going through a situation I went through, that means God is providing for them the same way out that He provided for me.
  • We’re all called to come alongside those who are in distress.
  • We need to support one another through relationship—through connection.
  • How connected are you to the body of Christ? That is an important component to moving on and moving through times of distress.
  • One of my passions is to help equip the church to provide soul care. There are situations where basic counseling skills can be used by laypeople—people who are not even naturally equipped in this way—to where they can impact their own church community and beyond.

Quotes from Arnold:

  • Sometimes in our churches, we’ve created a culture where we feel like we need to have it all together, so it’s easy to hide our distress.
  • Helping someone else can help the whole body.
  • When one part of your body is hurt, it draws energy and strength from the rest of the body until it is healed. That’s one of the reasons why I think maybe we avoid this. It can be costly and messy to get involved in somebody’s life and walk with them through the distress that they’re facing.
  • If my wife is in distress, I know it. I don’t have to guess, because I live my life with her. Maybe the problem is that we’re disconnected in our Western model of church—we’re consumer-minded, we come to get what we want and then go. Maybe we have a little clique, two or three people that we talk to every service, but we don’t really have a community. We don’t know when others are going through distress or how to help them because we don’t really even know them. They’re not a part of our life. What if the church looked like Acts 2—breaking bread together and living life together?
  • Creating a healthy church may be one of the first steps towards being better at helping people in distress.
Andrew Graham
Andrew Graham
Dr. Andrew Graham is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor, and board-certified professional Christian counselor providing professional counseling and consulting from a Christian perspective. He serves as Associate Professor of Counseling at Spring Arbor University and as an adjunct faculty member in God's Bible School and College's Graduate Program. Dr. Graham and his wife Lisa live in Hobe Sound, Florida with their eight children.