There are so many seemingly URGENT things that clamor for our attention every day, from challenging issues at work, to the everyday pressure of family life.  Sometimes the most IMPORTANT things get pushed aside in our busyness. As a church family, one of our key responsibilities is to make sure that the people around us, the people we do life with, are OK.

We often rely on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) as a way to connect with people, but social media is an unreliable way to really know how people are doing because it is often just a highlight reel of people’s lives and we don’t slow down enough to check to see what is really going on underneath. It’s important for us to understand that these people in our world are the most important mission that we have, whether that is our family or friends or the people that we work with.

So as we rush through our days this week, try to take time to pick up the phone, stop and make eye contact and ask the question R U OK? It might be the most important thing we do this week. If you are unsure where to start here are some simple ways to start the conversation:

1.  ASK R U OK?

  • Start a general conversation; preferably somewhere private.
  • Build trust through good eye contact, open and relaxed body language.
  • Ask open–ended questions like these – “What’s been happening?” “How are you doing?” “I’ve noticed that…” “What’s going on for you at the moment?”

2. LISTEN without judgment

  • Guide the conversation with caring questions and give them time to reply.
  • Don’t rush to solve problems for them. Help them understand that solutions are available when they’re ready to start exploring these.
  • Ask these kinds of questions – “How has that made you feel?” “How long have you felt this way?” “What do you think caused this reaction?”

3. ENCOURAGE action

  • Summarize the issues and ask them what they plan to do.
  • Encourage them to take one step.  (such as inviting them to church or encouraging them to see their doctor. If they’re unsure about where to go to for help, help them make the right contacts.)
  • Ask these kinds of questions – “What do you think might help your situation?” “Have you considered making an appointment with your doctor?” “Would you like me to make an appointment or come with you?”  “Can I pray for you”.


  • Make a note to call them in one week. If they’re desperate, follow up sooner.
  • Ask if they’ve managed to take that first step and see someone.
  • If they didn’t find this experience helpful, urge them to try a different approach because there’s someone out there who can help them.
  • Ask these kinds of questions – “How are things going?” “Did you speak with your doctor?” “What did they suggest?” “What did you think of their advice?” “You’ve had a busy time. Would you like me to make an appointment?”

So let’s all take up the challenge to slow down and do the IMPORTANT things this week rather than simply just the URGENT.  And if you yourself are struggling at the moment please talk to someone, a friend, a family member, your Home Group leader, someone that can help you through this period because we need you strong for the journey.

social media is an unreliable way to really know how people are doing

Rob Barnes