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Place-sharing with George

A personal example of place sharing.

Glen WeberBy Glen A Weber

Several years ago, I was helping facilitate a gathering of about 50 pastors and Christian leaders. We were spending three days in prayer and worship together. We had a chair in the center of the circle so leaders could sit and ask for specific prayer. During one of those times, “George,” a pastor for more than forty years, went to the chair to seek prayer for a struggle he had faced all his adult life. In fact, he confessed that at one stage the struggle had led to him being removed from ministry for several years. He had been restored to ministry but still struggled and suffered with severe nightmares as a result. Numerous pastors gathered around and prayed for George. At a later gathering, George again went to the chair and gave praise to God that the struggle and nightmares had been completely healed.

We believed we were following instruction from Paul when he wrote to believers in Galatia.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Our praying for George was essential and fit this instruction from Paul. But there is more than just praying for someone, there is also sharing their life, joining them in their journey. In many circles, we call this place-sharing. We’ve heard a lot about this recently in several GCI articles and podcasts. Brad Jersak shares the same concept in his new book, Out of the Embers, Faith After the Great Deconstruction:

When we see another’s sin (Glen’s comment: or any other struggle) not as lawbreaking behavior but as the self-destructive effect of their affliction, our hearts may be stirred to shed tears the other person can no longer cry. Dostoevsky’s tales demonstrate the saving powers of co-suffering love that flows from eyes that see our suffering, that empathize, that draw near in solidarity.

Although George had been restored many years before, had returned to pastoral ministry, and now was healed from the struggle and nightmares, I felt drawn to invite him to have breakfast. My desire was to stand with him in his walk so his struggle would be less likely to return. Although George was more than a decade older than me and was considered a little “quirky” by some people, he was very encouraged to have me support him in friendship (place-sharing with him). George and I met together for breakfast at a quaint diner every Wednesday morning for the next five or so years until I moved out of the area. Along the way, he had asked me to preach on the weekends when he was on vacation. We walked through so many events in both of our lives, and I was able to support him through challenges with his church leadership, his and his wife’s health challenges, and his eventual full retirement from ministry – all of which were stress points that could have triggered an unhealthy response in George. Ultimately, I was probably more blessed by my time with George than he was, as he helped me face some big life events, and he helped me in my decision regarding transferring to another church area!


Place-sharing doesn’t have to be painful or scary! It is simply getting out of our comfort zone and sharing life with another child of God. Who around you might be in a different age group than you, or even considered a little quirky by others that would be blessed by your presence? You will be blessed as much as they will be!

Prayer: Father, you place-share with every person through sending the Holy Spirit. Jesus, thank you for being the ultimate place-sharer as you joined humanity through the womb of Mary and became human. You lived our life. You shared with the disciples and so many others, and now you share with us. Holy Spirit, help us follow Jesus’ leadership to share our lives with one or more people around us. Amen

2 thoughts on “Place-sharing with George”

  1. “Place sharing” is a powerful, wonderful, simple, and very illustrative way to describe Spirit driven love in action. Internalizing the concept, and exploring its depth, has been truly enriching and encouraging. In recent months I have often been blessed finding myself on the “receiving end”. I pray that, at the same time, I am learning and becoming a better vessel of support to others.

  2. Thanks for this living example of place-sharing. Your relationship with George was not out of a false sympathy for someone with a problem, but of genuine brotherhood — your description of the mutuality of that friendship makes that clear. We all need these relationships to help us grow into Christ.

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