PastorCare Training For...
The National Clergy Support Network
by Dr. Bert Moore
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3:10 FIND NEED, WORDS THAT HEAL
As we get into the call for help, before we want to contact the caregiver, we have to have some kind of assessment of human need, the level of that need. Now on the intake form you are going to be getting a lot of clues about the need of that pastor--small congregation one of those of 26% of the congregations in America that are under 50 members. Right away you know there aren’t very many churches of 50 members who have a strong budget, and for whom the pastor is well paid to be there. And so questions like, “And how are you putting bread on the table?” once you’ve discovered a little bit about the income and they have shared that. “Are you living alone? How many kids do you have at home right now, or away at college? How’s your budget? How you doing on your budget?”
There’s a whole page of questions, and Pastor Wayne has a few more in his supplemental things that can be used, directed specifically to each of the seven categories of need. I can’t underscore enough if Satan isn’t attacking in one area, he will attack in another area. Never think that because you have met one area of need that there aren’t other areas where they have need and are really struggling. They may not tell you about their marriage right up front. They just tell you that the car has 385,000 miles on it, and they don’t have enough to get another one, and obviously that’s causing stress. She can’t go anywhere. He’s got the only car...a lot of issues. One car a family, and it’s breaking down all the time.
So I have included in the manual a little thing called “Helpful Hints,” that I have collected over the years. Here’s one that I did in 1998 emphasizing to listen but not to counsel; that we are not a counseling ministry. Sometimes our pastoral counselor spills over a little bit, inadvertently.
We are to get enough information to connect, as Bill Buck says, to connect them to the right caregivers in their areas. We are to be like God’s “Andrews” bringing them to Jesus through the very practical ways.
Be aware that the pastor is testing us on the phone, whether he can trust us (and the wives, too).
In terms of asking questions for information as much as we can...open ended questions. I often say questions are never politically incorrect. You don’t want to probe or push for personal information. They will tell you...as they begin to share, they will share with you, and just take notes.
As you move toward the end of the conversation you sense that you are getting tired, you need to get on something else, you need to disengage--there are some ladies, once they find out you are someone they can trust, they might want to have you on the phone for an hour or an hour and a half. That might happen once in a while during an initial call, maybe when they are pouring out, but they need to know that there are other people who you need to be ministering to.
If they do not know all about PastorCare and they get sensitive to the volume, we can send them information so they can get a perspective on the ministry. Never assume that they know all about the PastorCare ministry. Feel free to share information, but only if the caller is open and only after you have had an opportunity to listen to their story first. We’re not to make any promises we can’t deliver. Always feel free to have prayer at the end, if they are open to it.
There is a sheet here in the manual that I have included with “words that hurt and words that heal.” When I am doing training with callers I will spend a good time on this to help them get some of their language correct. Rather than be making “you statements,” be making “I statements.” Often “you statements” could be accusatory and judgmental. Sometimes we in our weakness say, “You ought to do this or something.” No! Let the Lord enter. Let the Lord work. Use “I statements.” Say to the pastor, “Did I hear you correctly when you said...(quote something they said earlier and may have forgotten).” Maybe you said earlier that the marriage was strong, and now you’re telling me that you’re really struggling. Could you really use a counselor?” They never asked for one, but you are putting two and two together based on a movement or evolution of that conversation. At the end, say something like, “I hear you are hurting.” Often times to be able to move out of a hurt of a long listening ear. “Mary,” when they take a breath, “ what kind of help could you use right now?” You are going very specific with that questions in helping that person think about where God might want them to be receiving some help.
4:10 INTERCESSORY PRAYER
There’s a bit of a history sheet in there so that people can see how the Lord has led this ministry. It’s dated, February 6, 1996. And you can see on that one sheet from where we’ve come to where we are today in terms of numbers. Those who have been with the ministry will recognize that we have prayer intercessors in all the states not just 36 or 39 as in that opening sheet.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Working within the seven basic categories of PastorCare, connecting them to hurting pastors, the first category, as you may remember is the category of confidential prayer partners, prayer intercessors. Remembering that the statistics are true that seven out of ten pastors do not have a person they call a close friend, someone they call an accountability partner, someone they can call at three o’clock in the morning and say, “I’m really hurtin’ I need you to pray with me right now.” So here we go. The one thing that Satan wants to do is to break that relationship that vertical relationship with the Lord. If he can do that with a pastor or pastor’s wife, he has really worked to destroy that relationship with his people on the horizontal level, the congregation. And those people will pick it up. They will intuit it. They will see. This pastor is just preaching little stories and pleasant homilies, but he is not standing in the Word, in the power of the Lord.
The practice of prayer is key to the PastorCare network. Which is why our ministry starts with prayer each day in the office. This is a time in which we share prayer requests ourselves. “How is your prayer-life, pastor? How are you all doing, you and your wife? Are you all praying together?” We ask those questions at PastorCare.
I was sitting in the office of the president of a seminary. And I asked him about his prayer life. He took a long pause and looked across his desk at me, (this is at a prominent seminary in our country, I won’t name which one) and his words to me were, “You are only the second person that has ever asked me about my prayer life.” Of course, I asked him who the first person was, and he said it was a Greek Orthodox priest who was visiting on campus. Many denominational people will not talk about that with their own pastor, but we at PastorCare, do and must. Because if that pastor is to stay, he must know God has called him. That there is, as Jeremiah said, “a fire still in his bones somewhere.”
Sometimes I’ll ask a Pastor in that category, “Can you remember when God called you?” If I get the intuition that this guy really has stuff, like Saul. Like the Lord saw Saul, but he’s really burdened down with the circumstances of his situation. I ask them to go back and ask them, “Can you remember when God first spoke to you? Where was that? What was it like? Tell me about it. I want to hear,” because we have to know if we are going to go any further, in terms of moving him out, encourage him to go get counseling, and get a career assessment, or whether this is a guy who really does need to be in pastoral ministry. And God is testing us, too, as caregivers at the office. We have got to come along side this guy. There are some who have really truly, deeply tested us in terms of their circumstances. Guys that the world had already given up on as a complete wash out--this may be Job’s tempters. So this is critical. This is the first category.
Everybody needs somebody they can talk to. My wife asked me, “Whom can you talk to?” Phil Burris is retired. If I need to talk to Phil I will call him about something. I know the Burris family--you all pray for me. I call Bill Buck. I used to call Al Thomas. He was my buddy. He did my premarital counseling, he and Carol. And she is still very much a part of our lives. We all need somebody we can call anytime to pray with us and for us, and really kind of cast our burdens upon them in the Lord.
And we try to connect men with men and women with women to keep the sexual issues out in category one. In that first area category, not to short-change the Holy Spirit, I will often ask the question to the pastor and the pastor’s spouse, “Do you know somebody that we may contact anonymously on your behalf.” I use that in all the categories, but that is a key, open-ended question that allows the Holy Spirit to work within the heart and mind of that pastor to think about people maybe a pastor in a neighboring town, or maybe a lady the pastor’s wife knows and she respects but has never met, “Oh, I heard her at a conference, I connected with her in my spirit.” So we will offer to make a phone call to that person, without mentioning names, we have a person who is willing, would you pray with this person; be willing to meet with this person and pray? That’s very important.
There was a study done in Michigan, reported in Psychology Today many years ago, that 85% of people who go to counselors really did not need to do it, if they had a close friend to whom they could confess and unburden their problems and needs. We try to have these people within easy accessibility, as in every category.
So that’s the first category--prayer partners, the power of prayer. I have included a sheet from Sherry Perkins, who did a seven day initial prayer sheet, to help people start praying for pastors in their community and for this ministry, as a model, to start with.
Category two is really a fun area. It is fun because my wife and I have stayed at a few of these places. And we will stay hopefully, at some more of them to check them out. Our “on the road team” pastor Gordon and Verna Stanmore, who are out traveling the nation in their motor coach visiting hurting pastors on site which is one of the most exciting things PastorCare uniquely does in America, no other ministry does this, except us. They are out there--been traveling for seven and a half years now, I believe. And have sacrificed. Their only home is that motor coach. They visit hurting pastors on site, take them out to dinner, hear their needs and sometimes come back and do evangelism services or revival services for them in their churches. And counsel with their people as well as the pastors. Beautiful ministry.
But Verna Stansmore checks out the getaway sites. Give kind of our own PastorCare Triple-A star ratings, as to which sites are best suited to which pastors. They often take photographs and send them back into the ministry so that photographs of some of the places around the country that you will never see anywhere else, except through PastorCare.
It is really fun. We’ve sent pastors down into the Caribbean. The church raised money for the pastor’s airfare and we got the spot. We sent one couple with his mother-in-law who was up in years, and they wanted to do something really special for her, so they went to Hawaii. We have three islands in Hawaii but the airfare getting there is not cheap. We usually ask the pastors in the getaway category, two key questions. Give us a first and second choice of dates of when you want to have your getaway, and how far you want to go. I tell them, go, pray with your spouse, about that and get back to us at PastorCare, right, Randy? And that is exciting. It is just fun. When they come back and we get the thank you letters and we see the joy of some of these couples, and the joy of the caregivers who put them up.
This one lady, Beverly, a lady we wrote up in one of our newsletters, is up in the Chattahoochee National Forest with this big house, she got one pastor family in there and was so excited she said, “I just love to watch them sit down by the lake. There he was with his Bible. She’d come join him with a cup of coffee and all they did was sit for an hour and a half or two hours by themselves. I felt in my heart, what a blessing this was to be able to do this for pastors. So she went out and got people around this little rural area, told them about the ministry, they started making homemade breads, and jellies and would bring them in for the pastor who had come in. She asked for a second Pastor, a third, and finally six hurting pastors in one summer up at her place in Chattahoochee National Forest, in western North Carolina.
There have been caregivers that have been blessed--God blessed them because they were willing to open their resources much like the Shunamite woman, in Second Kings, who said to her husband, obviously they were people of some means, and she convinced her husband, she could not have done it alone, “Might we build a room on the top of our house, to put in it, and the scriptures are very specific, a bed, a chair, a light, a good light for that time, so that we might have this space for the prophet, Elisha, whenever he passes by. You know they were blessed because they had a heart for God’s called servants. God blesses the caregivers. We have seen this time and time again.
We had a motel owner who walked into PastorCare after he heard about the ministry. He couldn’t believe it. It was over at the Hampton Inn at the time, now manages a big hotel down in South Carolina. So the Lord just spreads them out there. He said, “I just had to see this.” He said, “I can’t believe it. Before he walked out of our office he wrote out a check for a hundred dollars. He said, “Anytime you have a hurting pastor that needs a free getaway, you call me at my motel.”
This is an exciting ministry. And this is an exciting piece that is unique to PastorCare in this nation.
Any questions about getaways? I mean I love to talk about getaways! I love to do them myself. Often times when Ann and I go out they give us special rates and that is good. This one room in this one place in Savannah they were charging $135 a night. I said, “I can go out to Mirotell for $50.” She tells the whole staff, she calls the owner, the owner says, “Work with them. Work with them. Give it to them.” This was incredible.
We have places that people can go for an anniversary as well as take whole families to conferences in that category to an area. And Pastor Wayne has a bunch of questions that helps screen for need because we are not supposed to be the cheap alternative to a well-healed pastor who just wants this to be his alternative to a Triple-A travel guide. We need to screen for the need for pastors in that category, because it does take a good deal of time. There are several sheets in the manual that deal with the getaways.
6:10 INTERIM EMPLOYMENT
The third category is the providing of temporary employment, particularly to forced-terminated pastors--those 1,100 to 1,500 (one of the ministries out there says 1,600, but we hold at a conservative 1,500 a month max). But across the nation, pastors are force-terminated have no place to go and lose their income. A number of denominations, I happen to know the Baptist Church and many independent churches unfortunately do not have adequate severance pay requirements for a church when they leave. Some of the denominations do, but many don’t. As USA Today said a couple of years ago said, the largest growth group among churches in the USA are the independent churches--what they call the churches without labels. The old mainline denominations in America are declining; those that had the big pensions, the secure health plans, the severance pay packages and that kind of thing. For the independent churches, we become their support system. And that will increasingly be so as the ministry gets better known.
There are people around the country that are providing temporary employment for hurting pastors. I just tell the staff at PastorCare to be creative in this area. In every major city across the country UPS and FedEx and others have jobs that guys, if they are half-way physically able, even if they’re in their fifties and early sixties can handle. I have had testimonies from pastors from small churches whose wives won’t let them quit...sometimes working holidays making $300 in a two-day period. One pastor said, “I’ve been able to buy a dress for my wife--a new dress. We’ve been able to stop shopping out of the “dent can” at the grocery store now because we have enough funds from my ‘tent-making job’ now in addition to the church, to be able to live as a family now and not be humiliated when I take my wife to a store.”
We have a number of hardware stores that put the men on. We have a beauty shop, a barbershop in Atlanta that hired a pastor to close all his shops around the city--put him on until he could find another church. This is literally the biblical “Priscilla and Acquilla,” who God blessed because they gave a job to the Apostle Paul when he came out of Athens at that time. A very important ministry--often times churches are just not structured to do this; to work to try to get pastors help in this area.
Again, there are a number of things on that sheet that talking about and asking about family support--are there family members who are supporting you in your forced-termination, or in your struggles right now to support you in your low-income ministry. Are there any people who are helping in your community? We go through a series of questions to screen that need very carefully, before we come in and try to offer significant help with other caregivers.
The follow-up calls are very important, since that’s a financial area, there are very fine ministries, like Crown Ministries, used to be under Larry Burkett, Christian Financial Concepts, but is now called Crown Ministries, with Ron Blue a very important ministry to help them work through their finances. It’s not uncommon for us to encounter pastors with huge financial debt--credit card debt, and they have no idea what the interest payments are on that and they have gotten themselves in a hole financially. I had one pastor, who is working off a $28,000 credit card debt, and he has got it down to less than four figures now, and he’s still working at the same place to do that. A very talented guy, a very dignified and wonderful pastor, but he can’t go on until he gets rid of the debt. He’s got that burden hanging over his head. So, that is very important for him to be effective as a pastor again.
There is a question sheet in that manual to help you screen for need. Read those questions very well.
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Dr. Bert Moore, Founder 1900-2000