1. Hinton, Sharon T.

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What do you want and need from your faith community nursing (FCN) practice? What are you getting from your ministry? What is ministry taking from you? Reflect on Proverbs 31:10-31 and Luke 10:38-42.

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Sometimes the ministry role of an FCN is chaotic and occurs within situations such as crisis, illness, or death. We walk through that chaos using professional nursing skills, spiritual care, health promotion, and compassionate presence to provide what people need in their unique situations. In addition to that form of caring, FCNs manage personal obligations, professional relationships, and the dynamics of serving casual acquaintances and close friends. Because the FCN role is entwined with the life of a congregation or organization, FCNs work with and serve clergy and other staff. FCN ministry must align with the rules and regulations required by licensure, such as documentation and funding. FCNs do sizable work for the kingdom by serving God's people!


However, this caring may carry a high price. FCNs need rest and refreshment. We need the same gentle care that we offer to others. Seeking and receiving this care is part of our self-care. As we tend to our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, we... look to God as we acknowledge the chaos. Self-care that centers around God and his strength and rest prevents us from being consumed by the chaos of our ministry.


Recently, I experienced my first acute illness and hospitalization. I discovered afresh that self-care is a critical part of God's plan, including rest and a willingness to both ask for and receive assistance. Recovery is slow, but God is merciful, and all things progress according to God's timing. Be kind and gentle with yourself-I am trying to put this into personal practice.


Jesus is our example on the appropriateness of an FCN practicing self-care. He took time to pray, to rest, to eat, and to have fellowship with family and friends. As an FCN seeking to follow Jesus' example, this positive behavior can be a model to those you serve, as well as those who compare what you say with what you do. It also gives others permission to care for their own needs without guilt.


Knowing there will always be people in need and more work to finish, the key to effective, efficient FCN ministry includes setting boundaries and guidelines. The following principles provide an opportunity for self-care:


* Pray constantly about everything; expect a response.


* Have a conversation with God, rather than delivering a wish or complaint list.


* Plan and then follow through flexibly, not rigidly.


* Seek wise counsel. Just as you listen to others, you need someone to listen confidentially to you. Consider who is appropriate for the conversation: family member, friend, colleague, spiritual director, clergy, or wise advisor.


* Create a routine, including a back-up support system, for yourself and your technology.


* Learn to say no gracefully to ideas that create work for you and are not part of your well-thought-out plan. Agree that an idea has merit and challenge the person to create a plan for implementation. Often, people just want validation to move their dreams forward. If passionate, he or she will act.


* Give yourself permission to separate work from personal life. It is okay and healthy to spend time with family and friends who are not connected to your FCN ministry.


* Develop a routine that includes movement and healthy food.


* Persevere! Sometimes everything can be done right, yet the outcome is not as expected. In 2 Timothy 4:7 we are encouraged to finish the race by keeping the faith.


* Consider what good things can be released, so you can pick up the better things that God intends.



Resource Toolbox

Bailey, B. (2018). Learning to lead like Jesus. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.

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Fadling, A. (2017). An unhurried leader: The lasting fruit of daily influence. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


Hunter, G. S. (2016). Small acts of leadership: 12 intentional behaviors that lead to big impact. New York, NY: Routledge.



International Westberg Symposium at the Caring for the Human Spirit Conference April 20-22, 2020. See