How to be a Minister

Helping Christian ministers through training, support services, commissioning, licensing and ordination.

Hospital Visitation

chaplainAs I sit in the emergency room holding my wife’s hand, waiting for the test results, I was reminded of the cold, sterile environment of the hospital. The constant sounds of medical equipment and the distant sounds coming from other rooms left us both wondering and praying for others as much as for my wife.

When the doctor came in to confirm what we already suspected, an appendectomy was needed, the flood of thoughts started. How urgent is the situation, how risky is the surgery, how long is the recovery and who will stay with the kids were all legitimate questions that left us with a sense of uncertainty.

One of the most lonely and uncertain times people face is when they are sick, in the hospital, facing surgery or other medical treatments. The uncomfortable reality is that not all medical situations turn out well. Chaplains, pastors and ministers know that this is a critical time when people need prayer, encouragement, hope and support.

The righteous asked, “’And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ ‘And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:39-40

As people of faith and especially as ordained and credentialed ministers we have a responsibility to visit those who are sick, in the hospital and facing unspeakable circumstances. In these situations we are ministers of hope, comfort and love when people need it the most. We have an opportunity to pray for healing, lead people to faith in Jesus and when appropriate provide pastoral counseling.

The direct recipient of the minister’s visit may be the sick person, but we should not neglect the family, friends and even the medical providers.

What should you expect, do and say when doing a hospital visitation? As non-denominational ministers we should be equipped to minister to people no matter their faith.

Hospital visitation is the topic for the upcoming minister’s conference call. This month we will be interviewing Rev. Tanya Wood and asking her to share about hospital chaplaincy. Rev. Wood was credentialed in 2009 and serves as a hospital chaplain and pastoral counselor. She has also just started blogging at http://steadfastcc.com

What questions would you like to ask Rev. Wood about hospital visitation, ministering to those who are sick or those who are grieving?

Post your questions in the comment section and I will use them as part of the interview.

Watch your email for the conference call details.

Blessings in Jesus,

Dr. David M. Smuin
President
www.NCCChurch.org
@DaveSmuin
Blogging at http://pastordave.smuin.org
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Comments 13

Guest - Rev. Brenda Marciniszyn, DCPC on Friday, 19 October 2012 15:05

I would like information on this type of ministry. Now that i am retired, I have the time and vredentials to do this yet i think there must be a way other than just walking in and picking a room? I could/would do this if i knew where to start.

I would like information on this type of ministry. Now that i am retired, I have the time and vredentials to do this yet i think there must be a way other than just walking in and picking a room? I could/would do this if i knew where to start.
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 21 September 2012 13:23

What a great conference call! Thank you Rev. Tanya. What you shared was very anointed and instructive. I will post the call in the candidate section so everyone can listen again.

What a great conference call! Thank you Rev. Tanya. What you shared was very anointed and instructive. I will post the call in the candidate section so everyone can listen again. :D
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 21 September 2012 11:21

I think the most beautiful and profound comment that Tanya made was in describing how we always minister to the "spirit man", so that even those whose minds no longer are able to grasp what is being said, are ministered to in their spirit by the Spirit. Beautiful concept that changes everything about nursing home ministry. The flesh fails, but the spirit is eternal and can still receive ministry.

I think the most beautiful and profound comment that Tanya made was in describing how we always minister to the "spirit man", so that even those whose minds no longer are able to grasp what is being said, are ministered to in their spirit by the Spirit. Beautiful concept that changes everything about nursing home ministry. The flesh fails, but the spirit is eternal and can still receive ministry.
Guest - Cathy Brennan on Friday, 21 September 2012 02:16

I am leaving this post after the conference call. My previous Hospital Chaplain (2 years) ... I finally left after I could not resolve my personal conflict of believing that Jesus should be welcomed into a place where humanity was sick or near death (patients) or over-worked and exasperated from recurring loss of the patients coming through the doors but no time to grieve (staff) ... while the hospital cultural environment did not want Jesus there. They only wanted a Chaplain (could be Buddist or Hindu) to call when someone passed away so that the family could be comforted. It was a ministry of presence, as the paid Chaplain said. Before getting involved, I had an idea that if Jesus was allowed to come in, that folks would be getting saved and healed and the hospital would empty out...sort of pie in the sky, I guess. When the paid Chaplain was laid off, things sort of fell apart for the Chaplains, and I was ready to leave anyway. Tonight's conference call helped to re-inspire me to look at Hospital Visits in a new light; there was so much insight and graciousness toward the ministry.

I am leaving this post after the conference call. My previous Hospital Chaplain (2 years) ... I finally left after I could not resolve my personal conflict of believing that Jesus should be welcomed into a place where humanity was sick or near death (patients) or over-worked and exasperated from recurring loss of the patients coming through the doors but no time to grieve (staff) ... while the hospital cultural environment did not want Jesus there. They only wanted a Chaplain (could be Buddist or Hindu) to call when someone passed away so that the family could be comforted. It was a ministry of presence, as the paid Chaplain said. Before getting involved, I had an idea that if Jesus was allowed to come in, that folks would be getting saved and healed and the hospital would empty out...sort of pie in the sky, I guess. When the paid Chaplain was laid off, things sort of fell apart for the Chaplains, and I was ready to leave anyway. Tonight's conference call helped to re-inspire me to look at Hospital Visits in a new light; there was so much insight and graciousness toward the ministry.
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 21 September 2012 02:06

I enjoyed Rev. Wood so much tonight. I pray for the same strength and boldness for myself that she has to minister to those who may be facing a situation where they could be taken from this life into eternity in a split second. I pray that God would fill my heart and lips with the right words to say just as He has done for her. God bless you Rev. Wood!

I enjoyed Rev. Wood so much tonight. I pray for the same strength and boldness for myself that she has to minister to those who may be facing a situation where they could be taken from this life into eternity in a split second. I pray that God would fill my heart and lips with the right words to say just as He has done for her. God bless you Rev. Wood!
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 21 September 2012 01:59

Unfortunately I was disconnected during the call. I wanted to ask Rev. Tanya if she works in facilities such as nursing homes, Hospice Centers, etc. In my community we have a vast amount of these facilities and some don't get regular ministers. Would I follow the same protocol to visit?

Unfortunately I was disconnected during the call. I wanted to ask Rev. Tanya if she works in facilities such as nursing homes, Hospice Centers, etc. In my community we have a vast amount of these facilities and some don't get regular ministers. Would I follow the same protocol to visit?
Pastor Dave Smuin on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 22:21

Recently I had to do a vistation with my sister at the hospital. Her second and last living son was on life support and not expected to live. This was not the visitation that I had trained for and I found myself a little less than focused on doing what I should be doing. Have you had a similar situation?

Recently I had to do a vistation with my sister at the hospital. Her second and last living son was on life support and not expected to live. This was not the visitation that I had trained for and I found myself a little less than focused on doing what I should be doing. Have you had a similar situation?
Pastor Dave Smuin on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 19:49

I am very interested in making hospital visitations a regular part of my life in ministry. What is the best way to go about arranging that with various hospitals?

I am very interested in making hospital visitations a regular part of my life in ministry. What is the best way to go about arranging that with various hospitals?
Guest - Mary Miller on Monday, 17 September 2012 18:12

I have been on the patient and family side of hospital visitation. The hospital is a very busy place. What would you suggest for a person new to making hospital visitation as a clergy member as a way to determine a good time to visit? Is there a standard protocal to consult with patient/family/staff prior to visiting? I have seen some very awkward situations involving doctors/staff/family/patient and clergy. I want to avoid this if possible.

I have been on the patient and family side of hospital visitation. The hospital is a very busy place. What would you suggest for a person new to making hospital visitation as a clergy member as a way to determine a good time to visit? Is there a standard protocal to consult with patient/family/staff prior to visiting? I have seen some very awkward situations involving doctors/staff/family/patient and clergy. I want to avoid this if possible.
Guest - Linda Forthaus on Monday, 17 September 2012 14:40

What is the most difficult part of your job?

What is the most difficult part of your job?
Pastor Dave Smuin on Friday, 14 September 2012 23:03

Thank you for the prayers Jean. I am glad to report that Angie is fine. This actually happened about two years ago. I didn't mean to mislead anyone, but simply express what I remembered from the event.

Great question Bonnie. I will put it on the list.

Blessings,

Dr. Dave

Thank you for the prayers Jean. I am glad to report that Angie is fine. This actually happened about two years ago. I didn't mean to mislead anyone, but simply express what I remembered from the event. Great question Bonnie. I will put it on the list. Blessings, Dr. Dave
Guest - Jean Hughey on Friday, 14 September 2012 22:22

Prayers are with you and your wife for complete and quick recovery.

Prayers are with you and your wife for complete and quick recovery.
Guest - Bonnie Pope on Friday, 14 September 2012 18:21

I would like to ask Rev. Wood how she responds when people ask "why did God allow my loved one to become sick?" (Especially if it is a terminal disease)

I would like to ask Rev. Wood how she responds when people ask "why did God allow my loved one to become sick?" (Especially if it is a terminal disease)
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