Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family Clusters: big and little

Confession time:
Last night I was starting to feel really lonely and sad so I convinced my husband to let me go for a long walk in the cold. 

There, I got it out. 

At around 7pm I put on my running shoes, my massive sweat shirt, my small can of protective mase and declared 
"I have got to go for a walk and see some people or I am going to go crazier than I am." 

 Being aware of my feminist personality, my loving husband didn't say a word. Instead, he put on his shoes and grabbed his coat. 

We walked
and walked
and walked
I was rather surprised by how well I was doing!

My favorite place that we walked was downtown Winchester. The city has already put their christmas lights up on the beautiful old light poles downtown and the store fronts have all their christmas stuff up. Even front of the court house has a big black mail box that reads "letters to Santa."  As we walked downtown we window shopped and talked about how much we love how alive the downtown is!  

It was FREEZING at 34 degrees
But I didn't care.
It was nice to feel something other than sick and lonely.

After about 45 minutes of walking I started feeling like I was going to fall over. I had Roger walk close to the road so if I fell over I would hit him or the grass instead of falling into a car.

Once my balance became a bigger issue my husband cleverly suggested we start walking in the direction of our house 
"are you cold? wouldn't it be nice to sit my our fireplace and warm up a bit? Yeah. Well, why don't we start heading back so we can do that?"

Once we arrived home I had a better idea!

"Let's go get a giant soft pretzel somewhere" I screamed out through my frozen lips

We jumped in the car in search of my deepest wants and wishes.

By the time we found one, ate it and headed back home, I was so sore and sick that I felt sorry for not obeying the doctor's orders. After all, they gave them to me for a reason. 

As I was walking up the stairs to our bedroom Roger kept trying to help me so I wouldn't fall. I kinda got a little mean and stated loudly:
"stop babying me. I am capable of walking up the stairs. stop it." 

He stopped and I tumbled over toward the wall. his response: 
"now will you let me help you?"     

I accepted the help.

Once upstairs I popped a pain pill and watched couple of episodes of the Dugger's Tv show and fell fast asleep.

This morning (sunday) has been my catch up day. I have a massive amount of school work to get caught up on and I have been so stressed about it.  This morning has been spent READING, READING, READING, and more READING.  What am I reading?  Ahhhhhh I thought you would never ask:

Basic Types of Pastoral Care & Counseling: Resources For the Ministry of Healing and Growth by Howard Clinebell

I highly suggest anyone in the ministry to read it. It is an incredible source to start with. I have really learned a lot about the different types of situations a minister is placed in and ways in which he/she can help those in certain situations cope, learn and grow. It isn't necessarily specific in regards to types of counseling, it is more of a brief overview of specific types of pastoral care situations that lead to specific types counseling or referral. 

Basically it has helped me to realize the importance of having either a pastoral counselor on staff and/or a highly skilled pastoral care team within the church that consists of several people that are assigned specific individuals within the church to make a "family cluster." 

No single individual  should be charged with the task of caring for a flock alone. Each person within a congregation carries with them a unique amount of hurt and guilt along with certain skills in which they use to cope and grow. Caring for one another (both physically and emotionally) is a huge portion of what it means to be a church and I fear that a lot of our churches are lacking in those caring skills. Honestly think about the last time you where in a major crisis. Who did you reach out to? Did you feel like you had some support network within the church to reach out to? Wouldn't it have been AWESOME if you had a small "family cluster" within the church that you met with on a monthly bases so that when the crap hit the fan, you had a group, that you were comfortable with, that you could go to for help?  

This isn't a novel idea by any means, but it is one that is most often over looked by small congregations as a lesser priority. There is a reason why mega churches are so popular. I wonder if when  we get past the theatrics of the "christian concert" and the lack of any bible based teaching, if the popularity has anything to do with the "cell group" phenomena?   Hummmmm? 

 For that matter, you can also take a look at the popularity of house churches. What is it that people are SEEKING in house churches and mega churches alike?  Is it the "we want to make you feel good about yourself/lack of true bible teaching mantality?"  Or are they seeking a small group of people in which they can feel comfortable enough to share their deepest hurts with?  Is our generation just looking for what every other generation has looked for? Connectedness. We WANT and NEED to feel that deeper connection with other human beings.

Robert Leslie- "It is rather ironic that the church is often the last place where people talk with freedom and openness about the concerns that touch them deepest."

"Many are finding  a fresh baptism of the biblical experience as a small, honest group becomes a channel of God's grace for them. There is no doubt that the small group is a powerful factor in the recovery of the power of personal growth and social transformation" clinebell 351

"Church historians have noted that the use of small groups has been a dynamic factor in every major  surge of new spiritual vitality in the church." clinebell 349 

A great example of this small group phenomena is John and Charles Wesley!

Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla   and on and on and on I could go BUT....


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