By CTA—Christ to All
Editor’s Note: This article begins a three-part series exploring ways your care-ministry program can minister to your congregation and your community through your care teams.
Following the stay-at-home orders and mandatory business closures in 2020, people ended the year 2020 on a weary note, hopeful that 2021 will lead to both better times and getting the virus under control. But as the year begins, the reality—how long it will be before everyone who wants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 can be—begins to sink in. The issues of isolation, fear, and anxiety will be with us for much of the year, and the impact of depressed business in many sectors has put millions of people out of work. Into this void, the church can boldly proclaim the power of Christ to transform lives, especially through the work of your care teams.
During 2020, the normal grieving process for those who lost loved ones was changed. The typical visitation and funeral service—where the grieving are comforted by those who come to support them, give them a much-needed hug, and share good memories—was cut off, effectively leaving the grieving with a second loss and extending their normal recovery time and processes. However, it’s never too late to offer healing and hope.
If your church has never offered grief support, now is an excellent time to reach out to your entire community with this much-needed hope and healing. GriefShare offers recovery support programs that can be offered online or in person, depending upon your community’s restrictions.
A regular phone call check-in can make a huge difference in the day of someone who is grieving. Your care team can split up the people who have suffered a loss and make a plan to contact them on a regular basis. Additionally, resources are available specifically to comfort the grieving. The Grieving with Hope: Leaning on Jesus book is a best-selling resource from CTA, and the book comes with a free envelope for mailing purposes. There are resources from many publishers that will provide hope and healing for the grieving.
The isolation of the pandemic has also increased addictions as well as mental health issues. Especially when paired with unemployment, where the days stretch out in front of someone with no plans, or with school-at-home pressures, stress levels rise and these behaviors can escalate. Being alert for any negative changes in the people in your congregation will take a wide-scale approach and your care team can be the front line in communicating with members and alerting the church staff to any situation that needs follow-up.
Older members who are cautioned to stay home, even when restrictions are lightened for others, will begin to feel the loneliness and depression of being alone all the time. A small remembrance basket dropped off for them can be a tangible reminder that they are not forgotten, by God or by the people in their congregation. Small things, like packets of hot chocolate or tea, a devotional book, a few chocolates, and a note can provide a tangible reminder that they are loved. Delivering the baskets can be a wonderful opportunity to engage the entire congregation in caring for each other as well.
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