Who are the ones Jesus goes out of his way to visit, the ones he frequently encourages, the ones he cares enough about to interrupt his plans? The sick and dying. The ones in crisis. Jesus intentionally comforts them and makes them whole again.
Hospital Ministry: Ministering To The Hospital Bound
Visiting the sick in your congregation is not the most glamorous ministerial responsibility. It’s certainly not as visible as preaching and leading worship. But there are few activities that better reflect the heart of Christ. If we want to be shaped into leaders for Jesus, it’s essential that we keep the habit of caring for his people during times of deepest need. Here are several recommendations on how to most effectively sustain your ministry to those in the hospital.
Keep Track of Who’s Sick, Regardless of Severity
You need to have a way to find out who needs care. It takes little effort to create a shared Google spreadsheet where your staff can input names of people and details about their situation. The spreadsheet can serve as a nice tool for prayer and assignments at weekly staff meetings.
Prioritize Weekly Visitation Time on Your Calendar
Ministry is busy. You need to prioritize your time and include scheduled visitations. It’s so easy to overpack your schedule and never get around to visiting people who are sick at home or in the hospital. Consider scheduling times at the beginning or end of the day so you can organize being in late or leaving early from the church office.
When Others Stop Visiting, Keep Going
I’ve seen it happen many times. A person becomes severely sick or a crisis happens and the entire church responds with love and compassion. For the first week it’s constant, but then many people move on. The sickness or crisis doesn’t go away, and the person struggles alone in the aftermath. Keep going, keep reaching out, keep caring. If you already have time blocked out for visitations, it will be much easier to continue in your faithful service.
Find Creative Ways to Minister the Word
Are there creative ways to engage those in the hospital with reminders of the Gospel? You may want to write a weekly devotional email specifically to those on your list. Consider coordinating gifts or meals. Maybe invite them to hear the livestream or podcast of the sermon last week?
As you know, you have a significant opportunity to thoughtfully minister to the sick in your congregation. If you don’t currently have an organized plan, begin to assemble one. We know Jesus continues to care for the sick throughout his ministry and he invites us to do the same.