How to Tell If a Church Member Needs Warning or Comfort

In this world full of hurting people, the church needs to be active in meeting their needs. We have multifaceted concerns, so we must intentionally help those struggling in unique ways.

And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14

If you notice something from this passage, the Apostle Paul highlighted four different groups of people. And since each group was diverse, he gave each one a unique set of instructions.

  • Warn the Idle – Idle people are those not doing anything. It’s unhealthy for themselves and unhelpful for others. A ministry team must enlist people who will take responsibility for the disengaged members.
  • Comfort the Discouraged – If people are discouraged because of things happening in their lives, a church must find intentional ways to bring comfort. It won’t happen by accident.
  • Help the Weak – Within a church, you will need to help shut-ins, those in the hospital, and those grieving the loss of loved ones. Those who are weakened by life’s challenges need tangible help.
  • Patient with Everyone – As we deal with all members, we must realize that it takes us longer than anticipated to get through certain situations, and patience and grace should be our default.

Some people need warning, and others need comfort. Isn’t that so unique? One size of ministry doesn’t fit everyone. You must know the people so that you know how to care for them. Get to know their situation. Understand their personality. And then decide what will work best to get them where they need to be.

Warning someone is the worst you can do for someone if he or she is in need of comfort. Comforting someone is the worst thing you can do for someone if he or she is in need of a warning.

You must evaluate the situation and know the person.

Many churches desire to meet needs but are unsure how to do it. If it is everyone’s responsibility, it is no one’s responsibility. Weekly, your church needs some group to sort through one inbox to organize the efforts to care for those in our church family. When the meeting ends, the group should delegate contact points among pastors, staff, deacons, teams, and other members.

Your church has people with different needs – don’t try to give them all the same thing.