Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ministering to Those Who Serve

Who ministers to those who serve? In response to this question, my husband is training to be a chaplain for the Pennsylvania State Police. Chaplains offer support and assistance to all PA State Police personnel and their families by encouraging, listening and comforting those facing spiritual issues or dealing with  physical illness or injury.

Dick will be good at it. God has gifted him with the communication skills, dedication, and faith in Jesus. His pastor’s heart extends far beyond the walls of the church he is serving.

What about us, those who aren’t trained or ordained? What do we do when presented with the opportunity to reach out to neighbors, friends and family who serve others, be it as police, fire fighters, emergency medical team members, pastors, military personnel , etc? We often feel ill-equipped and tongue-tied. After all, these people help others for a living. What could I possibly say or do that would be helpful to them?

Following a few simple guidelines can give us the confidence to reach out:

  • Show up.
  • Listen intentionally.
  • Ask, "What can I do to help?" Follow through.
  • When needed, punt. Refer them to professionals trained to help people experiencing such issues.
  • Reassure them God is with them, whether they feel it or not
  • Let them know you believe in them.
  • Go back later to check on them.

I am so proud of Dick and his willingness to serve the PA State Police. God will use him. And just maybe, with a few tips and a little push, He can use you and me, too.

©2013 Pamela D. Williams