Ten Times to Call the Minister or an Elder

At our recent elders' coun­cil, we spent much time discussing ways in which we as ministers and local elders can be of greater help to our people.

Pastor, California Conference

AT OUR recent elders' coun­cil, we spent much time discussing ways in which we as ministers and local elders can be of greater help to our people. We recognize that many in our midst need pastoral care and are not getting it, largely because we don't know the immediate problem, and they are reticent in calling us. The problem is to get both parties together in time of need.

We ministers have been frequently re­proached for not making a hospital call or sym­pathy visit, when as a matter of fact we didn't know the need existed. Our desire is to reduce the number of such happenings to a minimum. No one feels worse than the shepherd himself if a real need has not been met.

The question seems to resolve itself to this: Do my people know that help is available? Maybe we have been reproaching you for fail­ing to do something you had never been in­vited to do. Everyone knows that he should turn to the spiritual leader in time of bereave­ment, but do most people realize that the min­ister or elder can be helpful in many other sit­uations also?

As a result of our counseling it was decided to mention ten different situations when, in our opinion, the person involved should call the minister or one of the elders. The list does not exhaust the occasions when the minister can be helpful but is given to indicate that there are many times when he can bring to you the re­sources of the Christian faith.

1. Before going to the hospital. Every min­ister has heard this: "I was in the hospital and the minister never even came to visit me." He cannot visit you unless he knows you are in the hospital! If there is to be surgery he would like to pray with you beforehand, either at home or in the hospital. If you are going for other rea­sons, he would like to call on you sometime dur­ing your hospitalization.

2. Before you engage a lawyer. This does not mean before engaging a lawyer for any pur­pose, but when a husband and wife are consid­ering a separation. Too often the minister is consulted only after all arrangements have been settled, and in effect he is asked to give his bless­ing to decisions already made. Possibly you may need a lawyer, but when you take the Christian view of marriage seriously you will wish to talk your situation through with the minister long before matters proceed to the point of no re­turn.

3. When a baby is born. When a baby is born the minister would like to call while the mother is still at the hospital, to rejoice with her and ask God's blessing on the child.

4. When you would like to talk or pray about a difficult situation. The big decisions of life are so important that they should be talked through and prayed about before one acts. Whom shall I marry? What shall I do as my lifework? Should I change jobs? God never intended us to make these decisions alone, and often the minister can bring new light to the problem. Remember, he does not break con­fidences and he stands ready to help in any way.

5. When you know someone in need of spiritual help. It is strange but true that often people are most reticent to seek help when they most need it, and it is part of our Christian re­sponsibility to be alert not only to our own needs but to the needs of others. Your minister is glad to respond to help anyone, whether a member of the church or not. The Bible puts it quite clearly: "We are members one of an­other," and "bear ye one another's burdens."

6. Before anyone enters the armed services. We ministers consider this visit as a special privilege. While we always plan to give our boys a Serviceman's Kit and provide them with our periodicals while in the service, yet the personal touch is most important. We want our boys to feel an abiding solidarity with the home church, and we want to assure them of the prayers and best wishes of the minister and church friends.

7. When there is a death in the family. For many, this is the only time when the minister is called, but as we have noted, this is a limited view of the Christian ministry. At this time your minister stands ready to do whatever you wish, in lightening your burden, comforting the sor­rowing ones, and assisting with the arrange­ments, if necessary.

8. When there is a prolonged reaction to grief. Occasionally we find dear people who seem unable to return to normal living after a severe period of grief. This is unnatural, for God has intended that normallv sorrow shall turn to memory after a reasonable period, and our Christian faith will give us hope and as­surance to carry on. When this does not follow, your minister can be of definite help to point you to the resources available.

9. When you are spiritually depressed. The finest Christians who have ever lived testify that they have had times of great struggle, when it seemed impossible to regain their Christian as­surance. If this experience ever comes to you. don't try to fight it through alone, any more than you would suffer with an inflamed ap­pendix or a broken arm without seeking help. If God seems far away and the Christian life has lost its reality, remember, you are not the first one to be tempted that way. Call on some min­ister or elder in whom you have confidence. If ever the supreme power of the Christian mes­sage can help you it is at this time of greatest spiritual need.

10. If you feel you are backsliding from the faith. We recognize that this is probably the time when it is most difficult to call on a spiritual counselor, but make up your mind to do it. Perhaps a personal matter or a difference between you and another has caused a rift in your church relations. Please don't let that rift widen. Call for help and start back—there is no other way worth while.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

Pastor, California Conference

April 1962

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Pointers for Preachers

Machinery or Mission, Shepherding the Flock, "The Old Ring"

Candles in the Night -- No. 6

God has always reserved for Himself men and women who would minister to every need of His children. The history of the Christian church abounds in lov­ing humanitarian service. No need has been overlooked and no area excluded. This was true when Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), a Quaker minister, became burdened for the inmates of Newgate Prison in London.

Freedom from Fear

A Bible study.

How to Work for Jehovah's Witnesses

It is just six years since I had the joy of seeing my first Jehovah's Witnesses family step out and accept the Advent mes­sage. Although this family had been connected to the Witnesses for more than eighteen years, and have relatives still in that organization, they are loyal Seventh-day Adventists today, actively working to spread the message for these days.

Evangelism, 1962!

A new day is dawning for public evangelism! The idea that the day of the public meeting is past is being for­gotten and the vision of true evangelism is dawning again. Thank God for it!

The Message of the Empty Tomb

Christianity is founded upon an empty tomb." So said Thomas Payne in derision. But that scornful remark is a tremendous truth. Were there no empty tomb there would be no Christian church.

An Indispensable Element in Worship

Music has proved to be an indispensable element in religious services, as an adjunct to worship as well as evangelism. It has proved to be a great source of contro­versy, probably because it is a property that belongs to everyone, not just a few. Music has been called the "handmaiden of religion," and is used as a vehicle for the expression of man's religious spirit.

The Breaking of Bread in Acts 20:7-11

In meeting the argument that Acts 20:7-11 proves that Christians observed Sunday as a sacred day in apostolic times, a few of our ministers have denied, sometimes even in print, that Paul and the believers at Troas partook of the Communion, or Lord's Supper, on that occasion. However sincere they may have been in using this counter argument, it is a mistaken one in so far as Seventh-day Adventist teaching is concerned. Hence we deem it fitting to caution our workers that such a position is not only untenable, but it may also result in embarrassment both to him who uses it and to the cause that he represents.

"Unto the High Place"

What are the conditions in our day that will cause our wayward and confused young people to come to us for help? There must be a way to span the barrier that too often exists between the pastor and the youthful members of his flock.

Some Books I Can Recommend

Book recommendations from Lyndon K. McDowell.

Great Words of the Bible—No. 9: Atonement (c)-"Kopher" and "Lutron"

The thought of covering, which the previous article showed to be a valid meaning of the word so often translated "to make an atonement," is continued in the words related to kaphar.

We Don't Make the Rules

The modern disposition to soften the judgments of God by trying to change the rules may prove to be an extremely costly experiment in morals. And in view of the desperate struggle in which we are en­gaged, it ill behooves us to make mistakes.

Conservative or Contemporary Church Style?

There are various views on church architecture. Some­times we present viewpoints that are regarded as modern­istic, sometimes the conservative angle is presented. The author of this article gives his views as a contribution to the important subject of church architecture, so vital to many of our readers.

Are You Satisfied With Your Life?

A sermon given in the Temple City church, Glendale, California.

Righteousness by Faith: Concluded

The Master's pronouncements are all master statements, infinitely profound, yet marvelously simple. His meaning is clear: I am your spiritual life. Attached to Me, your life is clean and your witness faithful. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.

The New Being

To have a complete idea of Pauline doc­trine, the new creation and its implications must be understood.

The Man Who Lived Again

The resurrection, mentioned 104 times in the New Testament, became the central doctrine of the early church—a cornerstone of Christianity. May the same great power be upon Christ's ministers today as they bear wit­ness of the resurrection.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)