Together Through the Storm: A Practical Guide to Christian Care by Sally Sims

Another book about pastoral care? But I’ve read so many already. I don’t have time to read another book on pastoral care, because I’m so busy cooking an extra Bolognese dinner every second week for a sick congregation member or new mum. This new book by Sally Sims brings a wealth of pastoral insight gleaned from years as a member of her local church, as well as further study and research, and is a great new read on a central but often poorly explained aspect of pastoral care – what makes it Christian?

This is a book that has been written to teach and encourage Christians to give Christian care to others. Sally Sims seeks to highlight the biblical foundation for care as well as practical guidance based in the word of God and in Christian hope.

Together Through the Storm, starts by discussing suffering and the God who cares. Sims carefully explains the biblical truths that God is with us and that we need to learn to trust the God of all comfort through our experience of suffering. Without rightly understanding why there is suffering in our world and a biblical response to suffering, we cannot take the next step of offering Christian care through that suffering. Sally shows why the church community should care for each other, and how this can work in practice. But above all she recognizes that behind all suffering stands a God of love and compassion, and that comfort and hope is found in turning to him.

The second section of this book, the part that makes it unique, is entitled ‘Biblical Foundation for Christian Care’. This section seeks to explain what makes our care Christian, encouraging the body of Christ to work together, sharing in the sufferings and joys of others. There’s a particularly helpful list on page 70 outlining all the ways our care of others can be uniquely Christian and not just well meaning. I found this refreshing, challenging and succinct enough that I will remember the challenges the next time I care for someone, have a coffee catch up, or meet with a non Christian parent at school.

The last section outlines a very practical guide to meeting with someone to offer him or her Christian care. It is very specific and practical and something I will print out and review before meeting or visiting with someone. Sally shares her vast professional and congregational experience providing Christian care in action. Some practical guidelines, including praying first, listening well, focusing on the person and not the problem, assessing what help is needed, being ready to pray and read the bible, determining when help is no longer needed and looking after yourself.

I think this book is a great book to promote at church. It would be amazing if not only a designated team of people was providing Christian care but everyone felt equipped with how they can care for others with the bible’s encouragement in mind.

Do you ever hear of the struggles of a friend and think, I just don’t know how to care for them at this time? What could I possibly say or do for them? I want them to know that God loves them and their Christian sister loves them, but maybe that’s not helpful, maybe I should leave it up to the care team or the professionals? Maybe I’ll just cook another lasagna and send a card with a bible verse. Maybe, you should read Sally Sims wisdom and biblical insights.

Writer | Nicole Clark Nicole  serves Christ at Sylvania Anglican Church where her husband is an assistant minister. She enjoys camping, watching and playing netball, holidays by the beach, and helping her sons to grow in their understanding of how to live for Jesus. 

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