One Saturday I met with a deeply distressed single parent. Since she had no church family, I encouraged her to worship with us on Sunday, which she did with her teenage daughter. When the two of them came to see me on Monday, the daughter, obviously pleased with the release her mother experienced in worship, said, "Mom cried through the whole service."
Pastoral care of this woman began on Saturday and continued on Monday, but it wasn't complete without Sunday.
I like to think I listen sensitively and counsel wisely. I know, however, I often overestimate my part and underestimate God's part in pastoral care. When it comes to having concerns borne, people need a pastor, but they ultimately need to meet with the Almighty.
Like most congregations, we find people coming to us with deep and perplexing problems. We give them encouragement through personal counseling and support groups. But I also tell these people, "Worship with us. It will make a difference over the long haul." I've found that ...1