A month or so ago now, as a part of my annual evaluation process at Resurrection, I set a series of goals. One of these was to develop a greater skill set for congregational care by reading and reflecting on two texts and by shadowing another pastor. I recently read and wrote about Bedside Manners and I’m currently reading Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide, with my Congregational Care Ministers. Yesterday I had the privelege of shadowing Karla Woodward our pastor of Silver Link Ministries.
I accompanied her to two different care centers for a monthly worship service (apparently Resurrection leads worship in 22 different regional care centers each month) and had a great time. I was most impressed by Karla’s skills at connecting with and relating to the residents. Particularly I’ll take away several things:
- Speak loudly and clearly
- Speak slowly
- Squat or kneel down so that you’re at eye level with those in wheelchairs.
- Touch is very important
- Eye contact is very important
As I watched Karla do each of these things I thought, of course, it makes perfect sense! She moved in and through those units with such a natural ease and skill that these techniques seemed a natural part of who she is. It was a blessing to be with her and I learned a great deal from our time together.