support guide 03

ministry happens.

for you who stand in the place of people’s deepest pain

Dear Pastor or Chaplain,

We’ve curated this page of resources with you in mind. Our hope is these videos, podcast episodes, and blessings will encourage you in your call to ministry, remind you of the important work you do, and thank you for the ways you serve others, especially the fragile.

Bless you,
Kate

a blessing for pastors

Blessed are the wounded healers, 
Those who serve others 
in the midst of their own confusion 
and isolation, doubt and loss.

God, may they know beyond doubt 
that you are there,
and that they are not alone 
in this world.

May they feel your love 
poured out for them 
so profusely, so personally,
that love overflows to you in return.

Grant them the
specific encouragement they need
that will set them on a 
joyful path of service again.

Provide for them rest for their bodies,
nourishment for their souls,
and a trusted friend 
for life’s most perplexing questions.

Guide them in practical ways 
as they seek to find 
ways to lead in uncertainty,
comfort people in their sickness, 
console them in their grief,
and celebrate with them 
life’s greatest joys.

Grant them grace to know somehow,
that in your economy
Your love has a math
that compounds according to the
mystical science of the cross.

Be the first to know when we release a new resource like this one.

WATCH

On Pastoral Calling with Will Willimon

As a Pastor, what does it mean to unflinchingly tell the truth?
About God and about us.

Pastors are called to go there. To everyone’s brokenness. They are the people who go to that place the rest of us drift away from and do their best to stay there on purpose. 


WATCH

Documentary: A Will to Preach

This beautifully produced documentary follows Bishop Willimon from scripture to sermon as he tackles preparing to preach on a topic that addresses the issues people face today.


READ

Accidental Preacher

A personal and vocational memoir of Bishop Will Willimon, one of my favorite pastors of pastors. His book portrays the adventure of a life caught up in the purposes of a God who calls unlikely people to engage in work greater than themselves. 

LISTEN

Liz Tichenor:
Being Church on our Worst Days

Episcopal priest Rev. Liz Tichenor reminds us that in the thick of tragedy, we need the church and shared rituals of grief. On our worst days, we are called to show up for one another.


LISTEN

Reverend Tom Long:
Number Our Days

The Reverend Tom Long spent a lifetime molding seminary students into pastors and preachers. In this conversation, Tom reminds us of our callings as ministers and reminds us of our place in a bigger story of hope and faith, of interdependence and the importance of community. He describes the role of the church and a community of saints and the necessity of rituals to pull us into a wider, truer story than the trite version our cultures likes to tell.


LISTEN

Nadia Bolz Weber: The Insight of Outsiders

When I am going through my own terrible time, one thing I really appreciate is frankness. Another is openness, the willingness to meet peoples’ problems head on. Nadia Bolz Weber, is famous for all three. As a pastor, Nadia doesn’t only preach to the bright, shiny people. Instead, she seeks out everyone else.

“Faith is a team sport, not an individual competition, in that we hold the faith on each other’s backs. So when I can’t believe, someone else is believing for me, and vice versa. Sometimes we’re the ones being lowered through the roof to Jesus, and sometimes we’re the ones doing the lowering. And I just think of it collectively in that sense.”

— Rev. Nadia Bolz Weber

Here are some discussion questions we’ve put together as you listen to this conversation.


WATCH

A Blessing for
Seminary Students

“Blessed are you who heard it and responded—this call that came from before you were born. It is the promise of God for the restoration of God’s people.”

CONSIDER THIS

If you are a seminary student, pastor, or chaplain, consider this:

1. Take a moment to remember the way in which God has called you to ministry. Was it that day sitting in the pew of a church? Was it several little things over time? Did God speak through a mentor or friend? As you remember your calling, perhaps take a moment to reflect on how God breathed the Holy Spirit upon you and into your ministry. You are not alone in this calling, in this work, in the hospital room, in this pulpit. The spirit is with you. Reflect on how you have felt and noticed the spirit working with you in this ministry. If you need a good reminder of how the Holy Spirit works listen to this sermon by Dr. Warren Smith at Duke Divinity’s 2023 Baccalaureate (jump to 53:14). You will not regret taking the time to listen to this spirit-filled sermon (maybe listen to this before your next deacon meeting, council meeting, or finance meeting).

2. Consider what is the role of the pastor, chaplain, rabbi, or priest? We have seen a recent decline in the role and spiritual authority of these leaders, which should make us deeply consider and reimagine the role in which we are called to play in community. Are pastors called to be the presence of Christ? Are ministers called to find the presence of Christ in all of life’s big moments? Christ began a new creation and blessed us in our callings to live into the world that Christ is already redeeming. How does that change our role and perspective?

3. Being a pastor can often be a lonely and sometimes disorienting role. As Dr.Tom Long says we are often “the last ones standing.” We stand in the sacred moments in people’s lives and try to find words to say as we walk with them through amazing and impossible things. Then at the end of the “work day” we go back to our “normal lives”. It is hard to understand the lives that we live, the things that we see, the spirit of God working through us and around us. Although it is hard to find the time, consider prioritizing networking and connecting with your peers. Perhaps you could start a weekly breakfast group with all the pastors in your area? Join a peer group? Arrange a retreat for your old seminary friends? How can you find or create a community of support?