Ways to Navigate Conversations About Doubt at LifeGroup - Life.Church Leaders

Ways to Navigate Conversations About Doubt at LifeGroup

by Amber Siany

Most of us have probably experienced some level of doubt in our journey following Jesus. Maybe you’ve questioned the goodness of God in the middle of deep pain in your life. Maybe you came across some questions in the Bible that made you uncomfortable. Maybe someone you care for wasn’t living the life they said they were.

No matter what your experience looked like, you may have found yourself sitting in doubt, hurt, or confusion. And this happens to the people in your LifeGroup, too.

So what does it look like to lead through conversations when people are processing hurts from the church, tensions in the Bible, or questions about the things we believe as followers of Christ?

Here are a few things to keep in mind as people in your LifeGroup ask big questions about their faith.

1. Lead with love. When someone you care about is struggling in their faith, it can be really easy to try to “fix” their problems with the Bible. But instead of trying to be the one who answers their questions, focus on the struggles they’re dealing with. Acknowledge that their feelings, experiences, and thoughts are real, and assure them that you want to walk with them in finding answers.

Many people might feel like they’re “bad” because they’re questioning their faith, so remind them that doubts don’t disqualify them from God’s love. We see so many examples of people doubting Jesus in the Bible, and He always met them with grace, love, and compassion. With God’s Holy Spirit guiding us, we’re able to respond to people around us with those same things.

Most of the time, people need your listening ear more than your list of tips.

Remember, just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. And most of the time, people need your listening ear more than your list of tips.

When you lead with love, you’ll help create a safe space for people to process their thoughts without fear that they’re going to be condemned or shamed. Instead, they’ll be met with kindness that could push them back to Jesus.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of listening. There is value in being slow to speak and quick to listen, which is why listening is such a crucial skill to have as a LifeGroup Leader. There’s also a difference between listening and hearing.

Hearing is focused on how you’ll respond, while listening is all about understanding their perspective.

When you listen, you’re letting your LifeGroup know that their doubts and questions matter to you. It also shows that you care about them and that you want to know how you can best support them.

3. Pray with them and for them. We know that there is power in our prayers, even if we don’t always feel it. So when someone in your LifeGroup shares something they’re working through in their faith, be intentional to pray with them.

And don’t just pray with them individually or as a LifeGroup. Pray for them during your own time with God, and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how you can care for and lead them.

Also, remember that many of the questions people have won’t be answered overnight. Stay diligent in praying for them, and follow up individually with anybody who shares during LifeGroup.

4. Share your own story. Maybe you’ve had doubts about God or been hurt by someone in the church. You might even discover that your past experiences are similar to someone’s current situation in your LifeGroup. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share your story with them. Not only will it help the people in your LifeGroup feel less alone, but they’ll also see that it’s possible to get to the other side of their doubts, and find that God is still good, even when it doesn’t feel that way.

5. Be okay with “I don’t know.” You won’t have answers to every person’s questions. You may not even be able to relate to or understand the tensions they’re feeling. And that’s okay. Most people would rather have a safe person to talk with instead of someone who has all the answers. So if you don’t know the answers, or even where to start in helping someone, connect with your Community Leader. They’ll be able to partner with you in finding answers, and they can support you as you have these conversations.

As a LifeGroup Leader, you don’t have to lead through these discussions on your own. So connect with your Community Leader and local LifeGroups/LifeMissions pastor if you have situations that you need to process or want guidance on.

Here are a few resources to help you lead through these conversations, too.

Remember, you don’t need to have all the right answers or know all the right theology to respond with love and compassion. God has specifically chosen you to be the leader of your LifeGroup, and He will give you everything you need to lead through these conversations well.

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