Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the Road: Pastoral Care Tools in Wyoming

The Weather in Wyoming can confront a pastor with just about anything. It's snowing oustide as I type. How can one make sure he has everything for a shut-in or hospital visit and protect it all from the elements?

Shortly after I was ordained, I got tired of carrying my Bible, Communion Kit, and Hymnal along with bulletins, Portals of Prayer, and other resources in my bare hands. So, based on being raised by a carpenter, I went to SEARS and bought a tool bag. It served me well for nearly ten years until I needed something a little larger.

I am told that "Craftsman" is actually a better translation for Joseph's vocation in Scripture than "carpenter" anyway!

Below is my new pastor bag. I have bulletins, devotionals, Lutheran Service Book, an English Standard Version Bible, the LSB Pastoral Care Companion, and even the pocket edition of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions on one side. On the other side is my Communion Kit, CDs for shut-ins, and a small kit for emergency baptisms.

And it usually makes people smile.

You may be wondering, "If that's his pastor bag, what does his Communion Kit look like?"

I'm glad you asked. This summer I drove up to see a shut-in in the mountains. After I arrived, I noted that the glass bottle from my original Communion Kit had burst. Everything was ruined. I needed a replacement fast.

Looking through the catalogs, one could spend hundreds or thousands on a new Communion Kit. I saw a nice looking one for $250 that looked like a handgun case. So, I went to the local sporting goods store and repurposed a handgun case and food safe plastic camping bottles.

So, that is an insider's guide to pastoral care tools out here in Wyoming. And may a be a good time to remind my brother pastors to be diligent in visiting your people. These are your tools: bread, wine, water and word. They appear humble, but they have great promises attached to them. No part of my ministry has borne more fruit than doing visits to shut-ins, hospitals, nursing homes, and eventually every member family in their homes. My wife calls it "hunting the brush." Jesus called it leaving the ninety-nine to seek out the one. And heaven and earth rejoiced.

Peace in Christ,

Paul J Cain, QBR Editor