This post is part of a series on Caring and Sharing Hope during COVID-19. If you haven’t yet, read the first post in the series here.
What Might a “Care Call” Look Like? Prepare Well and Ask Good Questions
Before reaching to call or video chat with a member of your Body you will want to spiritually prepare.
Pray: Ask the Holy Spirit for filling to match the occasion (Eph 5:18)
Stop and listen to the Spirit: Is there anything you believe God wants you/this person to know?
Asking Good, Well-Rounded Questions
These sample questions address various motivations that drive every human — the heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Of course, these also define the holistic nature through which we love the Lord our God: Mark 12:30.) Questions from various angles draw out people in different ways, so asking different types of questions helps you care for each person well.
Ice-breaker questions: For some calls you will likely need to ease in to deeper questions.
Questions like “What are your days looking like?” or “Have you read anything interesting?” or “What’s surprised you most since you’ve had to stay home?” can start the check-in call well.
Heart questions: “How are you doing?” or “How are you feeling?”
God created our emotions so they’re good!
Soul questions: “What’s driving you toward worship vs. what’s hindering it?”
Every season has different things that drive us toward God, and others that drive us away from God. Help draw out areas of misplaced hope, trust, and worship (e.g. “I just can’t wait for the government bailout” or “I don’t think I can sleep until this all goes away.” These can help point out false saviors.) Check out Asking Good Questions: A Gospel Shepherding Tool for some practical tips.
Mind questions: “How do you see God right now?” or “What do you find yourself believing?”
Remember all the “gospel fluency” conversations you’ve had in less-urgent times, and see them as practice for applying the gospel during this unique time! See the Fruit to Root Exercise; make sure you gospel their heart and share encouragement!
Strength questions: “Do you need anything?” Or “How can I pray for you?”
Whether tangible (e.g. toilet paper or food), emotional (e.g. companionship or calmness), or spiritual (e.g. prayer or counsel), admitting any need requires humility, vulnerability, and honesty. It’s an admission that one cannot do life alone. As this post (rightly) claims, Christians have a hard time admitting needs. Celebrate any admission of dependence, and remind them that God has given himself and the family of God to bolster weakness and meet various needs.
Church Member “Care Call” Sample Dialogue
There is NO one right way for a “Care Call” to go. But case studies can be helpful to display how natural it can be to ask questions in the course of a quick conversation. This one involves ice-breaker, heart, mind, and strength questions, and follow-up questions to draw out the heart, address emotions. There’s a bit of “fruit to root” work. Notice the leader asks more questions than “teaching” or “telling.”
Jared (Leader): Hey Brian, I was just calling to check in on you guys? how are you guys holding up over there?
Brian (Member): Oh man. Thanks so much for calling. Kids are driving us nuts but we’re doing alright. I’ve never worked from home before – it’s taking some getting used to
Jared (L): I bet. So much new to get used to – kind of surreal, huh? What’s been the most surprising thing your kids have done.
Brian (M): [laughs] Well, remember that CNN clip of a guy whose kid came running in during a live interview? Yah that was me with some clients the other day. Thank God they’re all in a similar boat. I think it actually helped warm them up to the sales pitch!
Jared (L): Yah, I hear that – sounds like your son deserves a little of your bonus! On that note, how’ve you been doing since you told me business slowed some?
Brian (M): You know it’s starting to look a little uncertain. We closed a few big new deals in March, but that was before folks knew how bad this would get. I’m a little concerned with what Q2 will look like. We don’t have a ton of savings built up, and a lot of my income is commission.
Jared (L):Yah I wondered about that, and have been praying for you since we talked last week. When you’re in those moments fo fear, are you ever finding yourself turning to God?
Brian (M): If I’m honest, not really. I mostly just think of our mortgage and bank account – I get pretty anxious. I know that’s not what I’m supposed to tell a pastor, but hey it’s the truth.
Jared (L): And man, I so appreciate your honesty. I know it’s not easy to let others into how you’re feeling, so it’s a gift to me. Know that you’re not alone in your uncertainty; I have felt some of the same. In my best moment, God’s care and provision — which I see in my own life when I think about it — has helped me find rest and hope. Remember I freaked out when I was laid off last year
Brian (M): Yah, I’d never seen you like that! But it’s easy to look back now and say “God provided”; you got a job in just two months! But what if God hadn’t? Or put yourself in my shoes: what if he doesn’t?
Jared (L): That’s the point though: God did provide, because God is our good Father and provider! In the moment, I did freak out, and I didn’t trust God to provide. But some good friends — including you — reminded me of moments where you didn’t know what would happen, and how God provided for you guys in every case. Brian, I think God let you guys walk through anxious seasons before, in part so you could help me last year. And I think he gave me that experience to now remind you of that same truth.
In the Bible, in history, and in your life and mine, God keeps his promises: he takes care of us; he provides what we need each day. He proved his care and love through Jesus’ sacrifice, and he sent his Spirit to remind us of his truth, and to give us comfort and peace. And brother, I’m here too, and our family will not let you and yours go hungry. Part of how God provides is through his people; whether just honest conversations like this, or prayer, or dinners dropped on your porch, or even financial help, we’re in this together! Like Peter walking on the water, we only freak out if we take our eyes off Jesus.
Brian (M): OK, I see your point. I have gone through seasons of worry before, and you’re right: God has brought me through them. It’s just uncomfortable, and I wish I knew what would happen.
Jared (L): I know. We all do. The only thing that frees us to loosen our grip is trusting the things we talk about — and even teach our kids — all the time: that God really is in control; that he really does know every day before it happens; that he works for good even in hard times; and that he does have “the whole world in his hands” I’m convinced that God gives us his Bible, and each other, not just for hard times, but especially for hard times, when we need to be reminded of his truth and his promises. Can you think of other promises or truths of God that would help you with what you’re feeling now?
Brian (M): I think the theme that keeps coming to mind is “dependence.” I think of how God wants his people to depend on him, and how often we don’t. Whether Israel in the Wilderness, or their rejection of God for a human king, or even the early church’s tendency to turn to other gods. But God took care of them anyway — I mean, he disciplined them for their disbelief, but he gave them manna and water; he gave them some good kings and prophets to turn them back to himself. He built his church despite people’s lack fo faith.
And then there’s Jesus, who was so dependent on his Father for every moment of his life! He was so aware of God’s care, that he made illogical choices in the eyes of his followers. I think I just need to rest in the things I see throughout the Bible. It has given me really tangible truth to cling to in the past, and I just needed the reminder that it’s truths apply even in this season.
Jared (L): I love that God the Spirit is helping you remember those things. Even right now, Brian, God is providing for you what you need. I’d love to pray for you, and I want to check back in next week and see what other truths God is reminding you of. Look in the Bible for ways he provided for his people and how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is his provision. And pay attention in your life this week, to specific ways that he’s providing — yes, clients, but also joy, hope, peace, and other things too — see how God uses those things to grow your dependence on him.
Can I pray for you in these things, and will you pray for me too? Because while I objectively believe what I’m telling you is true, just like the Pharisee who came to Jesus, I need God to help my unbelief in moments where my own circumstances cause me to doubt or forget — just like you!
How do we share hope with not-yet-believing neighbors? We’ll be exploring that in the next post in this series.
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