Starting to plan a new healing ministry

I’ve mentioned in the past how I am the clergy liaison for the healing ministry for our diocese, and today we had a meeting of those interested in re-booting that ministry in our diocese.

We began by putting Christ is the centre of our vision, by recognizing that when we visit the sick and pray with them, it is really Christ we are visiting. Our service to the sick is a ministry to the suffering Christ.

We then examined what kinds of ministry we might offer, and we realized that there are two kinds: prayer services for healing, and visits to the sick. The first kind of ministry entails offering a “safe place” for the sick person to come and be prayed with, while the second involves going to the person who is sick to pray with them. We outlined each of these types of ministry, looking at what is involved in the practical organization of each.

Someone then brought up the question of training in this ministry. We realised that there are in fact two categories of process that we need to look at: “ad extra”, which involves serving the population outside of the ministry itself, and “ad intra”, which is service to the members of the ministry team. Our overall breakdown of the issues came down to the following:

  1. Ministry ad extra
    1. Prayer services for healing
      1. Overall organization of healing services
        • Where should they be held?
        • How often?
        • Which priests might be interested in participating?
        • How should they be publicized?
      2. Organization of the healing services themselves
        • Review of the various roles in organizing a healing service
      3. The actual service itself
    2. Visits to the sick to pray for healing
      1. A call comes in requesting a visit to a sick person
        • Who takes these calls within the healing ministry?
        • How do we make sure the person really wants a visit (assuming they are not the one making the call)?
      2. We organize ourselves to visit the sick person
        • Who calls the team together to go for a visit?
        • How should the team prepare for the visit?
        • How do we alert the “prayer partners” for the team to start praying for this special intention?
      3. We visit the sick person
        • How, exactly, does the moment of prayer proceed?
        • What kind of follow-up do we envisage?
  2. Ministry ad intra
    1. Recruitment of new members
    2. Practical and theological training
    3. Leadership and accountability
      • How to communicate the existence and nature of this ministry?
      • What are our linchpin functions, without which it will fall apart?

With our key issues identified, we closed with a time of nominations for our Steering Committee. I like the model of a “steering committee” rather than an executive, because often an executive is expected to “row the boat” to get it where it needs to go. But if all of this is truly the work of the Spirit, then we shouldn’t row the boat, we should unfurl the sail, and just do our best to navigate a safe course with the wind at our backs.

I don’t know where all this is going to lead, but I am pleased with the progress we made this morning. I expect us to tackle a “manageable” subset of these activities to start, and let it grow from there. May the Lord guide our deliberations and shower his healing grace upon his people.