How to Help People Who are Burned, Bruised, or Wounded in Your Church with Steve Grusendorf
Welcome to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Steve Grusendorf who is a part of the denominal leadership at the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He started as a local pastor at a CMA church, always serving in leadership development, and a few years ago became involved in this aspect at a denominational level, now serving as Director for Ministry Studies.
Leading a congregation through crisis—whether it’s a moral failure, a sudden transition, or something else—is a unique challenge that leaders may not always feel equipped to handle. It can be easy for us to miss the wounded that may already be invested in our church, especially when they’ve been wounded by the church. Listen in as Steve shares how we can get better at spotting and loving the spiritually wounded right within the shadow of the church.
- Don’t let awareness fade. // We try to prepare ourselves to help wounded people when they are drawn into the church for the first time, but sometimes we miss those who are hurting and already within our church. We can’t assume that everyone who regularly attends our church and is involved on some level is ok, or is even a believer.
- Avoid the perfection trap. // Within the church, we know we aren’t perfect, but no one talks about it. There is a difference between the living church and the local church. The living church is all believers and you have to be a genuine follower of Jesus. But the local church is a wide open place to come for healing. It can be filled with believers, skeptics, seekers, and even people who may have less than positive motivations for being there. The local church needs to be the place where people come to be redeemed.
- Tell your story. // As a leader, if we only focus on telling our current stories (after following Jesus) we can come off as being perfect. We can’t forget to tell the story of our lives before Jesus. Communicate that the local church is not a place for perfect people, but rather a place for broken and hurting people who want to find healing and redemption. Share the story of how you were one of those people.
- Serve, forgive, and pursue. // We may know these three things, but don’t always communicate them from the platforms God gives us. Service has to trump power all the time, and it has to start with the leadership. Leaders, we need to find a place where we are participating in our churches without leading. Be careful about putting power above service.
- Aftermath: A book for the spiritually wounded. // Steve wrote his book, Aftermath, for people who are spiritually wounded and also for church leaders who want to get better at spotting and loving the spiritually wounded right within the shadow of the church. Steve saw there was a pattern where people in the church are often unheard and stuck in their pain, and as a result may walk away from the church or God entirely. As leaders, be willing to make yourself available in a variety of ways, and process with others the painful things that are happening in the nationwide and global church.
- Watch for wolves. // As leaders we are taught about how to care for the sheep, but not always how to deal with the wolves. We need to be aware that sometimes these people can come from the inside and prey on others. Stay vigilant and look for these three red flags: Firstly, a person who desires leadership without participation in discipleship. Discipleship is more important. Second, a person who desires leadership without demonstration of good follower-ship. To be good leaders we first must be good followers. And third, a person who desires leadership but expects to skip steps to get there.
You can learn more about Steve and his book at www.intheaftermath.com.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway
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