Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Compassionate Congregation

The Compassionate Congregation
By: Karen Mulder and Ginger Jurries

This is a book that has been published since 2002. It was introduced to me through my service to the Austin District Lay Speaking Committee.

The Austin District Lay Speaking Committee is sponsoring a course on Pastoral Care in September. I am one of the people who has been honored with the chance to teach a segment of this course. In preparation to teach, I read this book, which will be the textbook for this course.

I loved this book from page one and on. To me, this should be the bible of Pastoral Care giving. It is also a good reference for how to be a friend.

This book is divided into four sections. Section 1 is entitled “Wisdom of the Wounded: Their Stories and Advice”. This is my favorite part of the book. Topics in Section One cover thirty-eight topics in alphabetical order from “Abortion” to “Violation of Privacy and Freedom”. Each of the situations has a testimony from someone who has suffered from this particular challenge. These testimonies are heartfelt, honest, real and full of grace. Most of these segments are accompanied by scripture which is relevant to the situation.

After the testimony, another sub-section that is discussed is called “Wisdom for the Caregiver.” This lists helpful guidelines as advice for what to do and what not to do.

Other sub-sections include “Additional Wisdom for the Caregiver”, “Helplines”, and “Books and Other Resources”. These provide more wisdom and guidance to assist the friend, lay pastor and pastor for ministering to people who are living through their difficulties.

Section 2 covers the issues of prayer, listening and respecting the grief process, complete with a chart illustrating the many stages of grief. This is a must-read for anyone who participates in the ministry.

Section 3 is entitled “109+ Ways to Say ‘I Care’”. This struck me as the “how-to” guide on friendship. This is full of great, proven, creative ideas for providing comfort and practical help to others. There is even a spot at the end to add your own ideas to this list.

Section 4 is entitled “Four Self-guiding Sessions for Small Groups”. This touch on scriptural references for this thing called Pastoral Care, as well as practical applications in listening and the grief process. This section gives plenty of opportunity to apply the information in the book to a classroom or teaching setting.

This book is well-organized, interesting, helpful, and relevant to the practical challenges that we all face as parents, friends and ministers. I recommend that every adult read this book. I have already applied some of the things that I have learned to my parenting repertoire.

Happy Reading! 

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

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