What are some
helpful things you can do to ease the pain of a fellow
pastor who either is in conflict within himself or
within his church? Here is some practical advice.
Make a Personal Visit
to the Home of the Hurting Pastor
phone call is good, but it does not fulfill your
pastor-friend's needsó someone to talk to face-to-face,
someone who sincerely wants to ease the pain. When you
phone the pastor, the conversation usually is begun with
the question, How are you doing? A pastor who is hurting
will hesitate to share his true feelings on the phone
because he has no eye contact with you. Eye contact
gives you the opportunity to share with the hurting
pastor that you really do care how he is doing and that
you are not just being ministerially inquisitive.
Write an Understanding
Letters can have an amazing,
healing effect on one who is hurting. They serve two
important purposes in the healing process. When one
receives a letter of compassion from a friend, he has
the opportunity to read it several times. He might not
remember what you verbally say, but he can keep
available for his reference what you write. Second, not
only does the friend get to read your letter, but he has
the opportunity to share it with another person. That
might be crucial for his own personal self-image.
Perform a Tangible Deed
A sensitive pastor/friend can
do several things to help ease the hurt of another
pastor. Probably the first thing to do is to ask
yourself, "What would be most helpful to me if I were in
his shoes?" By answering that question, you can better
understand the needs of a person who is abruptly
terminated from a ministerial position. Few more things
for your consideration:
up some day or evening with the offer (or make
advance arrangements) to take the children out for an
activity to allow the hurting couple to have some
precious time alone.
some day or evening to take the minister out for
coffee or just for a drive to give him an opportunity to
share his feelings. This also will give him time to get
away from the situation. Your wife could do the same for
the wife of the minister.
Money, food, and housing
needs may soon be critical. Your awareness of
this fact will allow you to know that talking about
these needs will be most difficult for the terminated
pastor as well as for you. You will have many
opportunities to minister through love offerings,
poundings, and providing shelter for the family.
Pray for the pastor's situation, and encourage
other like-minded pastors to pray also. Be sure to let
the pastor know you are praying for him.
No one solution will meet every
need. Every hurting pastor and family is
different, thus the healing will be different. Your
sensitivity to his heartbreak and to his feelings of
failure will do more to allow you to minister to his
needs than anything else. Remember, everyone needs a
hand to hold onto at some time. May you be that hand of
support for someone today.