How can a pastor best care for the members of his congregation who are physically ill?
- Pray for them personally. See James 5:14.
- 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.
- Visit them if you’re able.
- 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.
- Listen to them. Yes, offer them spiritual counsel, but make sure that you lead by patiently and compassionately listening to them.
- Read Scripture to them.
- Pray with them.
- Encourage them.
- 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])