The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

The “Times” Can Bring Fresh Awareness

Last winter I got into  a conversation with someone about what I believed 2009 would hold for illness ministry in the church. I predicted that pastors may become more aware of how many people live with chronic illness.

60505789.thb I thought this because:

  • Stress can make an illness be triggered or exasperated and so illnesses may actually increase or make  pain levels more  unbearable.
  • More families will seek counsel. The stress in relationships, finances, loss of jobs, etc. will bring more people who are willing to ask for assistance in their marriages or relationships.
  • More people may seek financial help who would not have before. When church’s asked why families or individuals had gotten themselves into these financial predicaments, a great deal of time it would come down to medical expenses.

I just read this quote in the Minstry Today newsletter and it was a good reminder as to the fact that:

(1) pastors are becoming more aware of just how many people are hurting;

(2) they really do care! Now may be an appropriate time to approach them about starting a HopeKeepers Group or perhaps having a table after church for Invisible Illness Week.

“It’s important for us [pastors] to be in touch with the people we are speaking to and speak in a way that is understandable and bring the relevant, powerful, life-transforming message of the Word of God to them. It’s just something I have interest in. I want to know what people are thinking, what they are facing, what they are grappling with. … One thing I’ve become very aware of in recent days is just how many suffering people there are out there, people that are hurting. It’s been said that if you preach to people who are suffering, you will never lack for an audience. There certainly is a large audience of people who are in pain today.” —Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship

Your thoughts? Have you approached pastoral care recently at your church for one of the above reasons?

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5 Comments»

  Jodie Guerrero wrote @

Recently I wrote a paper/submission for my now former pastor to advise him on the importance of having a disability/illness ministry within the church. I recieved no reply or acknowledgement. What does this say?

  Father Daniel Beegan wrote @

Lisa,

I work with Pastor Nancierose and Pastor Pat and with them, Pastor Nick and the rest of us disabled folk minister to many people. Lately, the feedback is pretty good.

But because my degrees are from unaccredited Bible Colleges, the local hospital won’t appoint me as a volunteer chaplain. It’s sad. How many people would be cheered by a visit and a prayer? I wouldn’t barge in on people who wanted to be alone or were in quarantine. I’d only see those who wanted a pastor or a priest.

  Cindy “Jake” Trench wrote @

I’ve found trying to get a pastor to see just how much suffering there is in his congregation is seemingly impossible. They see nothing wrong with how they minister now, They just need to do things differently NOT do more. The spectators at the churches on Sunday the pastor’s always complain that they aren’t doing more. Healing is so preached today that many feel like second class citizens for being unhealed. There very much is “The Culture of the Unhealed” in churches who eventually leave to preserve what faith they have left. The leave diallusioned with God and His people. Christians need to take seriously the oath doctors take “First do no harm.” Families are up against a 75% divorce rate for those who are ill. Families are not surviving intact. The caretaker spouse often are led away by someone with a sympathetic ear and soft shoulder to cry on. Churches often will put peo[ple together of opposite gender not realizing they may be contributing to the demise of a marriage. Church turns out to be a dangerous place for a family who is ill. The pastors need to wake up and realize they aren’t taking care of their own people why would God give them more?

  Sylvia Proffitt wrote @

I sent this article to my minister, and he told me if I needed to get ahold of anybody while he was on vacation, to call the church and see if anybody was available to help me if i needed it. Consequently, since i haven’t been able to go to church since Christmas candlelight service, no one has called me, or asked me how I was doing. My minister, when confronted politely by myself, said He thought I left the church to go to another church. Why didn’t he call???? No one seems to be interested in reaching out to shut in individuals. They had a healing prayer night, and some were healed. I didn’t go, my answer to prayer came from the Lord, and He healed my spirit. But I would like to see something for those who are chronically ill. I ordered the book “Think it Not Strange” by Claudette Palatsky, and was thinking of having a support group in my home. Churches are just into making more money by getting more people to come to “their” church. If you’re not a member but come religiously they still don’t help you. If you don’t get involved in programs, they don’t help you. No One seems to care about people who have a chronic illness, especially if you smile and take care of the way you look. I am very disappointed. I thought this church was really going to do things like Jesus did. And it’s called the Stanwood Assembly of God,”NewView” church, because they do outreach to the community. Guess I fell through the cracks, not being a member, not being part of the community, and not being part of church programs. Sad, isn’t it? Pray for my support group this fall. Pray people come and want to have a support group. Thank you so much, Lisa. God bless you, Love Sylvia

  Cindy “Jake” Trench wrote @

Boy do I know how you feel huny. I hate to tell you dear but it’s not just that church and that denomination. This problem exists in all pastor-centric churches. 😦 Concentrating on just being with God and fellowshipping by assembling ourselves online is as effective if not more so than the local church building full of spectators who feel the same Holy unrest to serve as we once did.


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