The Pastoral Care Telemarketer

I’ve spent most of today peddling pastoral care. Every Monday, I come into the office, set up my laptop, and scatter my meticulously-neat-from-the-day-before desk with markers and a legal pad, pens, a clipboard, and snacks.

I make a list of everyone who was not present in Sunday worship and proceed to call each and every one, to check in on them, make sure things are ok, tell them we missed them, we are praying for them, we understand that their health issues are a big reality in their lives that often hinders them, and that their church family is thinking of them.

Phone calls last anywhere from a few to several minutes, largely depending on how much pain the person is in, or how out of breath they are after making the bed. Once I called one of our people who literally couldn’t speak with me longer than 40 seconds following a cortisone shot for back pain.

That really put me in my place after the little tantrum I had with myself over not having full use of my thumb after I sliced part of the top off with my mandoline slicer. Bye bye to that thing.

I’m having to get used to spending my day offering snippets of pastoral listening and conversation in a non-traditional way, but this isn’t your traditional congregation.

We do things a little differently around here at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church. Our congregation is made up of people with great big hearts and inspiring stories of human triumph. I get to have meaningful phone conversations with them every week, and when they are up for it, face-to-face home visits with the voices on the other end of the line are the best parts of my job.

At the end of the day, I get to go home having talked with, listened to, and cared for people; people who have a wealth of knowledge and life experience and minister as much to me as I hope I do to them in sharing our stories together. As our ministry continues to unfold, I’m excited and thankful.

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