I received the bad news early one morning that my good friend and a church member was diagnosed with Covid-19. I knew he was being tested and he suspected the test might come back positive. He is an ER nurse in a hospital in Charlottesville, VA. Even before his diagnosis he took precautions to live apart from his young family, a wife and three children under 5, to prevent the possibility of his family contracting the virus. It was hard to process this whole situation. He and his family live in the neighborhood next to the church. The news reports I had followed seemed like large city centers were the epicenter of this epidemic. However, it was not D.C. or New York, but in my small town in Central-West Virginia that this happened.
The day after he was diagnosed, our staff and his family went to the back yard of his home and prayed and read scriptures to him. It was a tearful time, but not deprived of hope. Since his diagnosis, and even before, our church staff and members have made regular intentional efforts to reach out and support both he and his family.
In this article, I want to share five heartfelt and practical ways to minister to a person with Covid-19.
Listen—One of the first things you can do is make appropriate contact and just listen to them. Don’t try to diagnose or prescribe treatments. Just listen deeply and empathetically. James 1:19
Pray—The vitality of prayer with and for those dealing with Covid-19 is immeasurable. Prayer brings them into the healing presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer gives hope and offers peace to the sick and faint of heart. James 5:14-15
Speak—The words shared with those dealing with a positive diagnosis need to be centered upon the hope found in the promises of God’s Word. It is not just about reading the Bible to them. It is about embodying the helpful and truthful Words of God and speaking them into the broken heart of the sick. I Peter 1:3
Ask—The discernment needed for this step important and should not be attempted alone. Considerations must be made for the safety of those serving the infected person. Ask healthcare workers and leaders in your church how you can best help the person and their family. Also, consider the physical, financial, and emotional toll this is taking and will take on the person and their family. You can also ask the person who has covid-19 how you can help them and their family through this difficult time. Heb. 10:19
Act—After asking you must act appropriately and regularly. Many personal touches from many people are essential if the person is to make a full recovery both emotionally and spiritually. James 2:14-17
I am thankful that my brother in Christ is now making a full recovery and growing even more in his relationship with the Lord.
Blessings in Christ,
Dr. Jamie McClanahan
Wayne Hills Baptist Church