When we lose a loved one, the journey to healing is not an easy one. As a member of a church or faith-based community, the members become your faith family and the pastor is the head of the household.
A pastor shepherds his flock, checks on the ill and broken-hearted, and often guides us through difficult times. When the pastor of a church dies, it affects everyone in the family of faith in many ways. It is a difficult road to travel, and we all need to support each other. If the congregation is not equipped to cope with this as a family, it is important to reach out to people who can teach coping skills, and with God’s help, guide the family towards healing. The following are steps that will assist your congregation in doing that.
Take time and space to grieve
After the loss of a pastor, the congregation will need to be patient with one another as they grieve. Everyone grieves in a different manner, and we need to give all involved the time they need to process the loss. Some will lean on others, while others may need some time alone. Everyone’s way of grieving should be respected.
Recenter using the message of God
Focus on God’s word. God is the way towards true healing. Trust in God’s plan, guidance, and provision. Pray even when it may be difficult to find the words. Remember; one word can be a prayer when you are in pain and it is difficult to form your thoughts. God will be with each of you every step of this journey. Reach out to Him in prayer for solace and peace.
Find support in your community
The faith family of your church is a wonderful resource for healing. Lean on one another and remember that you are all suffering from the same loss. Discuss with each other what you are experiencing. It may be a good idea to form a support group for those who need to talk and learn from each other. Turn to other church leaders for answers to questions you may have. Pray for direction, guidance, and about the loss of your pastor together, and remember the blessing he brought to your congregation.
Many church families do not have someone in the church who understands grief and how to cope with it in a healing way. We can help. At Spiritual Care Support Ministries, we provide individual and group grief counseling services to support, strengthen, and console your community as you mourn and heal.
For more information our bereavement counseling and other support services, give us a call at 540-349-5814 today!