What do you do when yours is the life that needs ministry? What do you do when yours is the family that is falling apart?
What do you do when you are the one that is grieving?
Who ministers to the minister? Who takes care of a pastor and his or her family when their world is caving in?
Pastors, women's ministry leaders, worship leaders and pastoral team members are all weary pilgrims from time to time and need the support system and encouragement that the Body of Christ is well able to offer. Unfortunately, often the church has been guilty of leaving bleeding ministers on the battlefield of life without regard to the gaping wounds they have suffered.
So what does a pastor, evangelist or church staff member do when they find themselves in need of pastoral care?
First of all, during the days of peace and stability, it is vitally important to establish a team of trusted friends who have your best interest at heart. This group of understanding friends, who are truly more like family, are able to circle the wagons around a ministry family when they are in need of counsel and emotional support. This team of devoted friends will not only be able to encourage you but they also will be able to protect you.
The leadership team of one's home church or the board of directors of one's ministry should also offer support, prayer and spiritual wisdom to a hurting family or pastor. Kindness and understanding are among the most integral gifts that other leaders can offer to a ministry family in crisis.
If you have not found this loving care and gentle support from your church leadership team or board of directors, there are other leaders in the Body of Christ who are able to nurture a hurting family and guide them back to health.
Go to another church in your vicinity and ask for counsel from someone on the church staff. How blessed it is when churches ignore the breeches that denominations have created and just simply say, "Let me help. I care about you."
Perhaps you could ask your church's leadership if they would be willing to pay for Christian counseling. Oftentimes a pastor and his family need the confidentiality that only professional counselors are able to offer.
When my husband, who is a pastor, and I were in need of some encouragement due to repeated miscarriages and the emotional trauma that followed, we called "Focus on the Family" and talked to one of their pastoral counselors. It was life changing! The staff at "Focus on the Family" followed up with us for many years and was a shining light in an otherwise very dark time in our lives.
Whatever you are going through ... don't go through it alone! If one group of leaders or members of the Body of Christ aren't able or are unwilling to give you the support that you need ... be relentless in your pursuit of finding someone who simply cares about you and what you and your family are going through.
Shame, regret or embarrassment should never paralyze a person in ministry from finding the help needed during a personal storm in life. Ministers need ministry ... counselors need counsel ... and caregivers need to be taken care of.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Cor. 1:3 & 4).
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, will be released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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