As discussed in my sermon “Belonging: Longing to Be Cared For,” our beliefs about our toughness and ability to go it alone are largely a myth. We are finite, frail human beings. At some juncture, we all reach the limits of our physical, emotional or spiritual strength and find ourselves in need of the care provided by others.

Yet all too often, when we go through hard times, we hunker down. We try to rely on our own strength and ability to grind it out. We pretend we are okay or worse, we withdraw from the very people who could support us. During times of pain or difficulty, people often distance themselves from the church. Over the years, I’ve engaged in numerous conversations with church members who, after experiencing loss, stopped attending worship. Sometimes, it’s due to their grief prompting questions about God, but more often than not, it’s because they prefer not to show their emotions in front of others. They don’t want to cry in front of people or admit that they are struggling, so they stay home and suffer alone.

When we do this, we risk losing the very essence of what a supportive church community should embody, because it’s in these moments of shared vulnerability that authentic connections are formed. You can’t have depth of relationship and connection without emotional vulnerability. It is not possible. So when life gets hard, don’t pull away from the church; lean on your church family for strength, support and care.

If you find yourself in need of care, of course, you can reach out to Kyle Matthews who serves as our Minister of Pastoral Care and does a beautiful job of supporting those who are hurting, as do other members of our ministerial staff. Additionally, we also have Stephen Ministers, lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation. The extensive training Stephen Ministers receive equips them to listen, care for and walk with those who are hurting. You can go to the church website and fill out a confidential referral card to get connected to Stephen’s Ministry.

Remember, in embracing care, you open the door to the healing power of Christ, which often flows through our relationships with others, and you gain the support to endure life’s toughest moments.


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