“Hmm, no one has called for a few days. I know my family is very busy, but I sure love those calls during this time when we are all “shut in,” What should I do Lord? Perhaps I could call someone? But what would I say?”
This is certainly a season of change and adjustment. Many of us try to avoid change, but now we can’t!
Perhaps there is that neighbor that you exchanged phone numbers for with in case of emergency. Or perhaps someone you know from church. You don’t want to bother anyone, but what if they are thinking the same thing?
Here are a few guidelines from Pastoral care:
1) Getting prepared. Think of anything encouraging or interesting that you can share. It may have been something you read or heard. Make a note of it. Also, have a drink of water to clear your throat and find a quiet location.
2) Patience and perseverance. When calling people these days, it is important to let the phone ring many times. Some of them take a long time to get to their phone or wait for the answering machine to answer so they can screen out telemarketers.
3) Opening. Say your name right away. Even if you know they will recognize your voice, say “Hi this is ____________ your neighbor or ____________ from church or Bible study.
4) Purpose. Let them know you just called to say hi and see how they are doing. Otherwise, they may think something is wrong.
5) Listen. Let them go first. If they don’t share very much, share a little bit about how you are doing and put the question back to them more specifically. Have you been in touch with your family, or your co-workers? If you are comfortable, comment on what they have shared. For example, “I am so glad you are able to be in touch with your family on the video calls. That must be tough to be separated from your grandchildren.”
6) Your turn. Share a bit about what you are facing – the challenges and something encouraging that has helped you.
7) Resources. If appropriate, let them know about RBCommunity online services! Information on our website, rbcommunity.org. Let me know if they need help with technology - we might have folks who can walk them through that.
8) Finish. Keep it brief unless they want to talk more and leave them something positive to think about. Let them know you would like to call back sometime and ask them, "When is the best time?"
Additional ideas where appropriate:
If they are a senior, in addition to their usual struggles, they are now isolated. Those in senior communities need to stay in their small apartments with food delivered to their door - - so they feel more alone than ever. Friendly conversation and reassurance of God’s love is what we want to bring them
Ask, “Do you have the groceries and medicines you need". Are you feeling okay?
Remind them of God’s presence in their lives. “Jesus is right there (in your apartment/home/room) with you to help you with all your struggles (or loneliness)”
Ask them if there’s any way in which the church can help them. …… “Can our prayer team pray for you?" - - - "Would you like to have a parish nurse contact you?” “Would you like to have Pastor Mofid call you?” “Do you need help getting our online church service?” “Do you need a mask?
We'd love to hear your suggestions too. Contact Pastoral Care team at PastoralCare@rbcpc.org.