Four weeks ago I was blessed to attend a seminar on Grief Ministry conducted by a team of three people from Willow Creek Church. I was more especially touched and convicted by the presentation made by Bill Hybels on grief ministry. I reflected hard on the lesson and found gaps in my own life, and also in that of my congregation.
To that effect I preached a sermon on grief at my church and I shared the feelings people possess when in times of grief. I requested my congregants to observe three minutes of silence and reflect on the experiences they have endured in their own times of grieving.
It hit me with great shock and emotion when I observed how many members in the church broke down in tears as a result of this exercise.
This revealed that there are many people in my church that have been harboring so much pain and grief in their hearts. A number of the congregants testified of their losses to death, disappointments in relationships and other factors. I went on to ask them how they felt after the sermon and their response was that they felt relieved of burdens of grief they had been carrying in their hearts for many years.
I went on to share with them the Dos and Don’ts of grief and they exclaimed that the experience taught them better ways of how to help someone in their time of grieving both inside and outside the church. Lastly, they also stated that the church in the past had not taught about topics such as grief, and that the new direction would build retention of members in the church and lessen the number of congregants who find themselves leaving the church and turning to extremists and false prophets.
Our church has successfully started a grief ministry and we are excited to see what God does with it.