Back in 2017, one of our members had a stroke which limited his mobility and temporarily left him confused about where he was and who was visiting him. As we made daily visits to his hospital room and engaged him in a little conversation, we realized that even though he was in a hospital bed with all the attendant equipment, nursing staff, hospital food and doctor’s visits, he felt sure he was at First Baptist Greenville.
Why would his mind place him there? I like to think it’s because while he did not recognize the nurses or doctors, he did recognize the familiar faces from his church—the friends, Sunday School class members, and ministers who visited him daily, sometimes several times a day. He received such wonderful care from his church family that he was convinced that he was at church!
The goal of church ministry is not to “professionalize caregiving” by ordaining and paying someone else to do the work. That would constitute a failure of the church to be the church! The goal is to create a culture of caring in which everyone participates. Partly that’s because the job is too big for any ministry staff! More deeply, it’s because ministering to one another forms Christ-likeness in us, both in wisdom and compassion, so we become all God wants us to be.
The problem, of course, is that you have busy lives to lead! Our task as ministers is to coordinate our efforts so that when you have a moment to reach out, make a visit, or send a card, we can help you do that as efficiently as possible and in coordination with our other efforts. I invite you to engage with us in Pastoral Care soon, so we can “be the church” for one another… wherever we happen to be!