An “I’ve Been Everywhere…” Day

Rural ministry often overlaps to surrounding communities. This was one of those days. It made me think of that old song, “I’v been everywhere man, I’ve been everywhere”.

Saturday begin with me being at the Church Office in Carseland before 7 am so I could do some last minute bits of work for the weekend. By 8:30 I was in Strathmore for a breakfastCarseland area map meeting. A little before 10:00 I was on the road to Calgary to do a hospital visitation. Luckily the person was in a hospital on my side of the city. At about 11:10 I left the hospital to head back to Carseland so I could get dressed for a wedding. I got home about 12:15. I tried to sit down for a 15 minute rest, then got dressed and headed out the door to do a wedding just south of Champion on the bride’s farm. The backyard wedding ceremony went great, followed by the receiving line and then we left in between the ceremony and the reception to drive another 45 minutes south to see my Mom and Dad in Lethbridge. We had exactly an hour with them before we had to leave to head back to the wedding reception at the Champion Hall. We enjoyed a great dinner and some speeches and left around 9:30. We got home just after 10:30. What a day!

And it’s interesting the variety of ministry I did that day. The office work first thing was finalizing the wedding as well as the sermon for the next day. Breakfast was with a man who is a member of our church but hasn’t been attending for more than a year due to some family breakup and disappointment with God issues. The hospital visit was with a man whose family is newer to church and who haven’t really connected with the church yet. He’s suffering with diabetes and other complications. And the wedding was a couple from our church. This was actually the only wedding – out of the 5 I’m doing this summer – where the couple were both church attending Christians.

Rural ministry in a small church is never boring. While not every day is like this Saturday, every week has all kinds of variety in meetings I have, people I see, “pastoral” duties I get to perform, and services I prepare for.

I love the variety. Do you enjoy it too?

Hospital Visits.

Hospitals used to make me sick. I could only visit for so long before my queasiness would force me to leave.

A member of our church just passed away. It made me think of the number of times I visited him. Hospital visits are part of every small church pastor’s duties. I’ve driven 3 hours to visit. I’ve driven up to four and a half hours to visit the dying son of a church member. With this man who just passed away, I visited him 3 and 4 times a week. It was never a long visit, just a chance to say hi and to pray with him.

For me, hospital visits are more about showing I care than about following any certain ritual. I don’t ask about too many details of the disease as I allow them to share what they want with me. I bring my Bible with me and even have a few ideas of what I might read, but if it doesn’t seem appropriate, I don’t force it. But I try to usually take time to pray for the person.

My hope is that I can encourage them just a little and leave them with a reminder that God loves them and cares for them.