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Creating a More Supportive Church Atmosphere (Part 4 of 6)

There are two types of people who attend the LDS Church: leaders and non-leaders.   No matter whether we are a leader or not, what are some ways to make church better for those struggling with their faith?  David Ostler has some great ideas.

David:  We don’t have to have a leadership role to be able to minister. So some of the things that I think we can do individually on this is that we can learn the issues and find ways to understand what other people are feeling, and then support them as they’re feeling that. So, for example, in a gospel doctrine class, if I’m participating, or if I’m teaching, and a comment comes up that I disagree with, or I think is wrong, or is controversial, I can respond to it in a particular way that is ministering, that reaches them, that says, “I understand. Tell me more about that. I really appreciate you raised that.  That’s a different perspective than what I’ve thought before. Thank you for expressing that.” Then also to be able to find ways to make sure that the class doesn’t jump all over someone.

GT:  Well, that’s what I was just going to say, because you’re going to start getting people, “Well, I bear testimony,” whatever.

David:  It’s a skill, and we have to practice it. There isn’t some magic answer on how to do that. But sometimes we can say things like, “I know some people in the class will disagree with what you’re saying. I appreciate how brave you are to say it anyway.”  I think that helps that person know that you know what’s going on in that class, and you know that they took a risk by asking that.  I think it helps the people that might want to testify away that issue, to understand that there is a person behind the comment, and that they have feelings and that they are struggling with that.

Check out our conversation….

David Ostler tells what lay members and leaders can say to make a more supportive church atmosphere.

Don’t miss our other episodes with David!

320: 3 Ways to Help People Keep Coming to Church

319: How Active Members Get Ostracized at Church

318: Helping Leaders Understand Faith Crisis


2 thoughts on “Creating a More Supportive Church Atmosphere (Part 4 of 6)

  1. Is it me or did that sound condescending? We are talking about adults not kids that need to be cuddled. We can say respectful things without sounding like we giving therapy to primary children. Cuddling people only empowers those who try to dominate them with “testimonial religiosity”.

  2. What sounded condescending to you?

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