Jump directly to the Content

What are some effective ways a church can minister to a family who has a terminally ill member?

Tony Welty serves as an associate rector at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

When offering to assist a family with a terminally ill member, consider the family as a complex unit with particular needs. The terminally ill person in the family will have specific, medical needs, which are best met by physicians and their staff. It's best to let them do their job.

A church's focus is best suited for the emotional, spiritual, and even logistical needs of the terminally ill person. Ask how you can be of the most help and honor the terminally ill person's requests. Sometimes the needs are very practical. For example, the person may need you to go grocery shopping for him, help shuttle kids to school or sporting events, mow his lawn, help with home maintenance, take his children to church, and so on.

Try to maintain an open attitude toward the sick person as you listen closely for his needs.

When it comes to ministering to the rest of the family, try to think about each member empathically, with their individual best interest at heart. If a parent is ill, children in the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Divorce Wars
Divorce Wars
From the Magazine
Disasters Are Not God’s Punishments. But They Can Judge Us.
Disasters Are Not God’s Punishments. But They Can Judge Us.
Both 18th-century earthquakes and 21st-century pandemics upend optimism and fatalism.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close