During the first winter at my current congregation, I shook hands with one of my members before the service. She had missed a couple of Sundays in a row, so I asked if she was feeling better. “Oh, I’ve been in the hospital,” she said. I was mortified! I apologized and stated that I would have visited her if only I had known. She smiled and said it was alright—she knew I was a busy person. However I could tell it bothered her.
It was, unfortunately, not the first or the last time I missed visiting someone in the hospital or at home with an illness. I serve a primarily older congregation with numerous overlapping needs at any given time. Previous congregations informed me that it was my job—and my job alone—to meet the pastoral needs of the congregation. But in this congregation, I knew we needed a different plan. So I went before my elders to ask for something I did not fully understand.
Sharing the Load
In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, ...1