Have you ever been either on the giving or receiving end of support in the midst of a crisis? Perhaps you’ve been the one in the middle of the crisis, and a friend showed up and loved you really well, or maybe you’ve been the friend to show up for someone else.  What does it look like to show up and support our people well in the midst of tragedy?

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If you are a leader, one skill you will inevitably need at some point is how to support someone through crisis.

You may need to support your teen through a friendship crisis, a friend through a marriage crisis, or a team member through a health crisis.

Helping someone through a crisis is not necessarily something that comes naturally to all of us, and it’s definitely not something that we are good at teaching in our culture.

The good news is that even if it’s not a natural gift that you have, it is a skill that can be developed. There are some guidelines and principles that can help you when you encounter a situation where you need to support someone else who is facing a crisis.

Recently, when I was going through my own crisis, my amazing friend and co-host, Holly supported me in ways that I didn’t even realize I needed, so episode 211 is an interview-style conversation we shared all about how to best support someone going through a crisis.

Key Points Discussed:

  • Why it’s important to show up for others in their seasons of crisis
  • Qualifiers for why we may not be able to show up for others in certain seasons of our own lives
  • The responsibility we have as leaders to support the people in our lives
  • How to show up for other people within our giftings
  • The definition of ‘crisis’
  • How we know when to step in and support someone in crisis
  • How Crises look different for each person
  • When boundaries are important for helping others in a crisis
  • The ways to learn how to support someone in a crisis even if you aren’t ‘wired’ that way
  • How you can take where you’re at, assess where your giftings are, and improve on it as it relates to supporting someone in crisis
  • The dos and don’ts of supporting someone in crisis
  • Simple tips for how to show up for someone in crisis even if you feel nervous to do so

The Dos and Don’ts of Supporting Someone in Crisis


  • Listen (without being shocked)
  • Acknowledge their pain
  • Look for practical ways to offer support
  • Ask if they want to be listened to or to give advice or wisdom without assuming
  • Be ok with not knowing all the details- they may not be ready to tell you or can’t tell you everything


  • Minimize their pain
  • Give them ‘pat’ answers or quote scripture in a hollow way
  • Assume how they are feeling at any one given time
  • One-up them with your own story you feel is worse in some way
  • Say “I know how you feel”
  • Tell someone they should be over it by a certain time – grief is a long road and can take years depending on the issue

Quotes to Note:

“You don’t have to feel a prompting of the Holy Spirit to love, support, and connect with people because it’s a basic command. You don’t need to wait for Him to tell you to do these things. You just do them.”- Holly Cain

“We’re told to love our neighbor as ourselves. And so loving your neighbor means doing some things sometimes that aren’t about my preferences and my feelings. It’s about asking ourselves ‘how can I take care of this other person?’”- Esther Littlefield

“Empathy is about showing up for people without any demands on them.”- Holly Cain

“That’s part of being okay with being uncomfortable is that we’ve got to be willing to sit in the dirt with someone, and in the tears and mud. And then together, you’re going to walk with them out into the healing.”- Esther Littlefield

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