How can a pastor best care for the members of his congregation who are physically ill?

  1. Pray for them personally. See James 5:14.
  2. Pray for them publicly. Be discerning here. Be careful that your church’s public prayers don’t become a mere recital of who’s got what. Perhaps consider praying in general for those who are ill in one of your pastoral prayers.
  3. Visit them if you’re able.
  4. Encourage others to visit them. Find some way to inform your whole church of special needs within the congregation. An email newsletter is one way to do this.
  5. Listen to them. Yes, offer them spiritual counsel, but make sure that you lead by patiently and compassionately listening to them.
  6. Read Scripture to them.
  7. Pray with them.
  8. Encourage them.
  9. Leave a note for them if you are unable to see them.

(Some of this material has been adapted from Brian Croft’s bookVisit the Sick: Ministering God’s grace in times of illness [Leominster: Day One Publications, 2008])

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