As I write this on Tuesday evening I am preparing for the two presentations I will give today (Saturday) at the Joni and Friends “Through the Roof” Summit in Agoura Hills, CA area. I have been preparing, packing, practising. . . and through it all, praying! “Lord, please don’t let me flare. Lord, heal my son’s cold. Lord, let this technical stuff work. Lord, let the boxes of books arrive.” Lot’s of little prayers.
My presentation is called “How to Start a Chronic Illness Small Group Ministry: Helping Pastoral Staff Understand the Need.” Last week about people called and poured out their hearts on our special phone line, set up to make the call into an MP3 file, so I could play it for the preentation. Thank you to those who helped me out.
What I noticed through all the testimonies was that no matter how much one had been hurt or disappointed in their church, no one called me with bitterness. Some of you have been told very hurtful things, but all of you called still seeing blessings somehow in that mess.
Some of you even felt a little bit guilty about calling to share where your church had let you fall through the cracks. You didn’t want to speak poorly of them. You just wanted other people to not experience what you’ve experienced.
Churches should know the conditions of their flocks. People are not pefect, and it’s those imperfect people (myself included!) that make up churches. When we go to our churches with a spirit of passion for those who are ill, concern about people who may not be “seen” by the church, our pastoral staff are much more likely to listen to us.
No pastor will ever start a ministry because you sat across his desk and told him all the reasons you are angry.
And as churches are called to “give careful attention to your herds” we must also give that attention to each other. We’ve been given the gift of insight, understanding, and compassion because of our illness. Let us use it to encourage others in our flock.
Prayer: Lord, it so hurts to be hurt, especially by those we expect more of like our pastoral staff or church members. Help me to remember that they are people too and only You will always be able to fulfill my needs. Give me the patience to extend grace even when I don’t feel like it.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and lives with rheumatoid arthritis. She thanks you in advance for your prayers today.Her presentations will be at 10:45 AM and 1:45 PM pacific time. If you are interested in her presentation, watch for it in about 3-4 weeks in the Rest Ministries shop at http://illnessbooks.com where it will be available on DVD.
You can now read this on your Kindle. Find out more at http://TodaysDevotionOnKindle.com