Posted in Authentic Christianity

Ministering to the Sick – Some Practical Considerations (via Preacher Thoughts)

(I just read this article and was deeply touched by its gentle Christ-centered wisdom. As one who has spent much time in the hospital–both as a patient and with family members–I couldn’t agree more. The article offers excellent advice for any Christian who is ministering to those who are ill. Read and be blessed.)
I came across this little list the other day and thought it might prove helpful for young pastors in particular. Much of this I learned from tagging along with my father-in-law to hospital visits during our summer vacations. But this is the kind of stuff every Christian can do.

Your Demeanor – – You should be humbly confident.
the sick are already struggling to not be anxious, they don’t need you to add to their anxiety
“pray yourself up” before meeting with them; yours is a spiritual work
enter the room slowly, but with a smile that is full of love
don’t let your eyes rivet on tubes and monitors… look into the eyes of the sick or the family that attends them
hospitals are not modest or clean – just deal with it
have some idea of what you are going to say before getting there –> a plan breeds confidence (I like to have a Psalm in mind that I have read over in advance)

Your Speech – – You should get to Christ and the Gospel.
there is lots of time to talk about physical conditions, but not everyone has someone in their lives to remind them of Christ
remember to speak in a calm, conversational, not-too-loud voice (this is where nervousness can kill you – getting too loud or stuttering, etc)
have a specific passage of Scripture to read and comment on
I like to use whatever the Lord has blessed me with recently in my own devotional time
you do not need to read all of a passage
admonish through the Word (e.g. “Here the Psalmist says that God’s voice can still a war or move a city… how glad I am that our Saviour is that strong. He is still that strong and will be for you.”)
keep your admonishment simple, and clear… no need to “preach the whole counsel” today; avoid obscure thoughts or things that do not relate to suffering
don’t shy from asking simple questions that remind them of Jesus
don’t shy away from asking difficult questions. The very ill often want to speak of death, their salvation, heaven, their assurance, etc. Often some of the sweetest fellowship happens when you ask a saint if they are prepared to die.

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