This month’s article was written by a guest writer, Pastor Stephen Ray. Stephen is the pastor of Hollis Center Church in Hollis Center, Maine. We appreciate his contribution to our February newsletter.
It is said that hurt people hurt people. I know this because I am in the people business. As a pastor, I am on the front lines of interacting with the bruised, wounded, and traumatized, and for some reason it is a general assumption that my calling and profession qualifies me to participate in deep-seated emotional therapy with the bruised, wounded, and traumatized. There are pastors who are good counselors, but some are not, and it has been my experience that acting on the assumption that being called to the pastorate also qualifies a person to engage in in-depth counseling can cause much further harm to the already damaged souls and can end up only compounding the hurt.
I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biblical Studies and have over twenty years of Christian ministry experience. My expertise is in teaching the Bible and developing effective structures and processes for ministry. With my training and experience, I am more than qualified to give sound advice to the bruised and broken-hearted, and occasionally lead the wounded soul to healing. However, I know there are many wounded who are far better off in my prayers than in my hands and anyone who has suffered trauma belongs solely in the care of a well-educated professional counselor. In short, my seminary training and ministry experience have prepared me only to do very limited, strategic pastoral counseling but nothing beyond. Many pastors share my opinion and there is a large body of research that supports my claim.
It has been an enormous blessing to have a Peace Partnership (pun fully intended) when I come across hurt people. Throughout my years pastoring in the Kansas City area I was able to recommend Peace Partnership to many hurt people seeking healing. It is a tremendous blessing to know that Jon, Cary, and Lindsay all have the professional expertise to handle the bruised, wounded, and the traumatized. Many of the people that I have sent to Peace Partnership confided in me some of their blackest of bruises, their deepest wounds, and their unimaginable trauma. The responsibility of just knowing their hurt is a heavy burden for me and many other pastors; that is why being able to entrust them to trained professionals provides me with incredible peace of mind!
In a moment of vulnerability, when a hurt soul expresses trust in me and is voicing the shame that has been buried in the dark recesses of their life, as a pastor, I become a steward of their healing. In the moment when someone is seething with bitterness and hatred, I want to do everything in my power to help them find forgiveness and solace. Having Peace Partnership as a resource for moments such as these has been extremely comforting. As a pastor untrained in counseling practices I am forever grateful that God has given me such a wonderful resource to help MY hurt people find healing.
I write this in the hope that more and more pastors and churches will use Peace Partnership as a resource to help heal those bruised, wounded and traumatized souls. As pastors, we have been entrusted to cherish and guide these people, and I pray that pastors and churches will both prayerfully and financially support Peace Partnership.
February is typically a month that reminds us of love. Many celebrate in different ways, and some want to ignore it altogether! We at Peace Partnership would like to take this opportunity to show our love and appreciation for each of you who partner with us making it possible to take care of the people we help each day. Your support is a vital part of our work and we appreciate each and every one of you. We want to mention some of our partners in this month’s “Thank You Notes”:
- Thank you, Toyota, for your continued partnership. We look forward to continuing to work together to create a positive impact in our community.
- Thank you, Lone Jack Baptist Church, for your contributions and belief in our mission to provide support and help to our community.
If you are interested in finding out how you can become a Peace Partner don’t miss the chance to get involved. There are many ways to give and every gift, small or large, makes a difference. Please click on the link below or contact our Director of Development, Amy Henderson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.