There are lots of words that have “baggage” attached to them. There are words that we have complicated relationships with. There are even words we try to avoid using or applying to ourselves. “Help” is one of those words. For some reason, we tend to resist admitting we need help, or we struggle with asking for help. We try and find other words to use, or we just put our heads down and try and plow through whatever we are facing on our own, but that’s not what we were designed for. We were never made to test the limits of what we could grind away at. We were not created to see how much we can handle on our own. We were created to live, love, and serve in community. We were created to be loved and served. We were created to be a body or a family or whatever your favorite picture the Bible uses to describe the people of God is.
Scripture is full of the “one anothers.” Warning! I am about to make up some words. Love one another. Serve one another. Encourage one another. Spur each other on to love and good deeds. Correct in love. The list goes on and on. These verses and passages are the “how to live together as God’s people” sections of Scripture, and here is the thing. We are to “one another” each other. But we are also to be “one anothered.” We need to let people love and serve us. We need to let people help us. Because the truth is, whether you want to admit it or not, we all need help at points in our lives.
So where do we go for help? Here are four suggestions for places to look for help. These are based on personal experience and hopefully will get you thinking about your list of where to go when you need help. Because you will. Life has a way of doing that to us.
- Your Heavenly Father. This may seem obvious, yet somehow when we need the most help we can leave God out of the picture. But we need to pray about our stuff and ask for His help. We need to read His Word and do what we can to understand how He wants us to live. There is help there, so even when times are good, make sure you keep your relationship with God alive and vital so that when you do need help, you don’t have to wonder if He is there or if He cares. You can get straight to the asking for help part.
- One another. I have alluded to this already, but one of the greatest gifts God has given you is Christian community. So don’t be satisfied with only showing up or tuning in on Sunday morning for an hour. Build the kind of relationships with one another that will let you ask for help. Find people who will disciple you. Mentors who will help you. Confidants who will pray with you. Friends who will show up and pitch in with no questions asked. These are the one anothers you need. It can be an accountability partner, a small group, a more spiritually mature person who will let you pick their brain. It could also be a combination of all of those. I am so grateful I have had accountability partners and small groups over the years who have help me through all kinds of things.
- Counsellors. Sometimes we all need a little more help than a friend can supply. It’s not weakness or shameful or anything else, so don’t let any of those thoughts stop you from seeking all kinds of help including counselling and/or spiritual direction. Counsellors have helped me see things I needed to see and start working at things I needed to work on. And a reminder to FMCIC pastors and their families. There is help available to you to help cover some of the cost of getting the help you need. Please take advantage of it.
- Regional Coaches and the National Leadership Team. This last one is specifically for pastors and church leaders. After all, this is the Church Health Thursday blog, and yes the first three fit under church health as healthy churches need healthy pastors and leaders. Healthy churches live out the one anothers, but we do have coaches available to pastors and boards to help them pursue church health, and the NLT is also available to help where we can with both church and pastoral health. So please reach out. When I was a pastor, NLT members like Dennis Camplin, Alan Retzman and Kim Henderson were life savers, both in terms of how they helped the church, and how they helped me. I wish I had a coach as well. So, call them. Call us. Call me. We would love to help.
Maybe you don’t need any of this now, but you will someday. Like I said, life has a way of making sure of that. So, make sure you have a help list of your own if you don’t like mine and make sure you use it when you need it. Because we all need a little help sometimes.
Director of Leadership Development and Church Health
Free Methodist Church in Canada