Healing ministry is…
… because it beckons us towards the future and a glimpse of the kingdom, and the hope of the whole of creation renewed.
… because it calls us to reconsider our relationships with God, each other and the world and to seek forgiveness and a new start in our lives.
… because Jesus Christ is with us to the end of time: when we pray for his help, he comforts, strengthens and heals us, responding to our deepest needs.
The Church’s ministry is a continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ. We seek to fulfil it in the power of the same Holy Spirit who anointed Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan. Jesus’ ministry was totally faithful and obedient to his Father. The gospel of the kingdom of God is the good news of healing which Jesus proclaimed. ‘Go and preach the gospel… Go and heal the sick’ summarises the commission Christ gave to his Church, so Christians have always been called to have a special concern for those sick in mind, body and spirit. The Church’s ministry can be described as one of healing — the healing of ourselves, and of our relationships with God, with one another and with our environment.
Personal qualities needed by those involved in healing ministry
- compassion and empathy, in order to help discern the needs of others and the most appropriate and helpful way of ministering to them;
- the ability to listen, or a willingness to learn how to listen, for listening is a great part of this ministry – listening to God and to other members of the team as well as to the one who is seeking help;
- discretion and confidentiality, so that anything shared during ministry is treated in confidence, showing concern, never offering advice or counselling and respectful of the person’s requests
- humility; acknowledgement that healing comes from Jesus Christ, not the person exercising the healing ministry;
- acceptance of one’s personal limitations, and willingness to refer those in need for specialist help, when necessary;
- reliability and trustworthiness; a willingness to work collaboratively in order to fulfil God’s will;
- patience, with themselves, other team members and those seeking healing; maturity and self-awareness to help absorb the disappointments and hurts which can sometimes result through endeavouring to help others;
Prayer and discernment
The basis on which a prayer ministry team exercises this ministry is that it is a group of Christians who pray together with faith, hope and love, seeking God’s will.
- Individuals who feel called to be involved in healing teams should be willing to pray and listen, in order to discern where God is leading them in this aspect of the Church’s mission and ministry; they need to be willing to grow in spiritual maturity.
- People involved in the healing ministry should be sufficiently self-aware to recognise their own spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs for healing. A prayer life which acknowledges and is open to the healing love of Jesus Christ is essential, as is a willingness to recognise and seek healing for oneself, in order to be available as a channel of His grace. Sometimes people who feel drawn to be involved in a healing team are initially more concerned about seeking healing for themselves, which is why prayerful and patient discernment is such a valuable process before becoming part of a healing team. Nevertheless, the Church has always valued the role of the ‘wounded healer’ and individuals who have experienced some healing themselves can often be sensitive and valuable members of the team.
- Those seeking to be involved in this ministry need the support of others, through prayer and Christian fellowship, and willingness to support prayerfully the other team members. They also need to be willing to seek to love and serve them in Christ’s name.
The healing ministry in the parish is dynamic… and is an integral part of our relationships and fellowship within the Christian community and beyond. Jesus meets us at our point of need.
God has gifted his Church in order to build up this ministry. Our Diocesan Healing Advisory Group members are a valuable resource for the congregation for this ministry, and may be able to help through presentations, preaching, training and helping to set up local healing teams. They can also advise on the various ways in which this ministry is carried out and its wider implications, and help individuals to discern their vocation within it. They also have useful contacts for information, resources, referrals, specialist advice, and ecumenical contacts.