It’s been an interesting week and weekend ahead, especially for Ken and I. Tomorrow, we both have two ministry tasks that fall into the category of pastoral care. Pastoral Care? What is that supposed to be? I had the same question a few years back in seminary in my Pastoral Ministry class where I learned that part of the job of a pastor is overseeing things like baptism (which I remind you again we have a baptism service on the 14th and those interested please contact me by Monday 1st), communion/Lord’s Supper, counseling, hospital visits for the sick or newborns (two very different visits), wedding ceremonies and funerals, etc, etc. To be honest, I prefer to simply tell others about Jesus and try to live my faith in a way that speaks my walk with Jesus as well. But tomorrow is different as Ken and I are both being grown, challenged and strengthened in faith regarding the last two pastoral care ministries mentioned. I will give a blessing/message at a wedding event and Ken will also be giving a blessing/message at a funeral. Obviously two very different occasions in the life (and death) of individuals, couples, families and friends, and I think Ken has the tougher day ahead of him. I was asked about my participation months ago while Ken, only days ago, received the very difficult news about the tragic climbing death last weekend when his friend Hannes, a South African living here in Switzerland, who was killed on Mont Blanc. Two very different circumstances indeed! Please pray for both of us, perhaps even more so for Ken, although praise God that Hannes was/is a Follower of Jesus Christ and while family and friends are shocked and grieving over his earthly death, they are also assured that his eternal life is safe and secure in the Lord. I met Hannes only a couple of times, but after reading the posts on his myspace page from family and friends, his love for Jesus and others is evident from those sharing how he and his faith touched them during his lifetime! In my case, a Swiss couple, that Tanya and I have known for a couple of years and who had officially left the state church some time back, desire to “include God” in their wedding event and marriage. Although they have never been to LIFT, I am honored to be able to share before them, family and friends, the true meaning of a marriage relationship, while of course including a loving way to communicate that this true meaning is based on a relationship with God, His love, and our faith and hope in Jesus!
Regarding the title of this update: Pastoral Care and Serving Together- All of Us. One of our core values of LIFT is “Serving Together- All of Us”. As you all know Ken and I have full time professional employment (even as I write this I am on a plane coming back home from a business trip to Finland). It’s been amazing to see our body at LIFT truly serving one another and others in our community, especially the past several weeks. While everyone may not be asked to lead a wedding or a funeral, so many of you serve in Pastoral Care/Ministries by providing prayer and visits to the sick and/or newborns in the hospital or home. A special thanks to Simon (and Annabel) who have supported Ken this week in his preparations and Simon will be leading the worship time with his guitar alongside Ken at the funeral as well. Others have recently served by providing meals, baby showers, counseling, leading studies, planning church events, picnics, giving messages, leading worship, prayer, etc, etc, etc. Too many to list them all or all of you, but praise and glory to God that LIFT is a church community that cares!
In closing, I was reminded today of the passage at the end of 2 Timothy, the preaching series we ended just before summer in where Paul encouraged Timothy to stand firm and preach, but to also “discharge all the duties of ministry”. I praise God that many are involved in our ministry, including pastoral care. Perhaps someday we will get our “full time” pastor at LIFT- The International Church of Zug, but my prayer will always remain that our being intentional that ALL OF LIFT, not just the pastor(s), is about living our faith and giving it away, Serving Together- All of Us!
2 Timothy 4:2,5
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. ….., Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
In His grip and grace,