For years, Anthony has been a familiar, welcoming face on Sunday mornings. As part of the staff at Hoboken Grace since 2014, he has served as Outreach Director and is often on stage leading announcements or presenting the message with his unmistakable blend of energy, humor and humanity. Now he is turning his talents toward launching a new ministry at Hoboken Grace as he takes on the role of Care Pastor. We recently sat down with Anthony to learn more about the ministry and how our church family can get involved.
Q. What does it mean to be a Care Pastor?
A. To take the pulse of our church family and identify who may need a little extra care and how to best get them that care. That could mean offering counseling services, visiting people in the hospital, or helping plan funerals or weddings. I’m also putting together a team of people who have the gift of empathy and care. We will need licensed counselors, as well as people who are just really good listeners and are willing to make themselves available to sit and grieve or pray with others. One of the most effective tools of care that we have is our own experience of healing. Part of my job will be connecting people who are struggling with others who have gone through the same thing and want to use that experience for good.
Q. Why are we starting a care ministry at Hoboken Grace?
A. As a young church, we are very fortunate that we don’t have a lot of funerals or members in need of hospital visits. So in the past, this sort of care has just been done by whoever is available when help is needed. But as our church grows, these needs are arising more frequently, and we realized that we need to have a process and a dedicated team in place to be able to serve our family well.
At Hoboken Grace, we talk about being a Great Commandment and Great Commission church. Jesus came to say that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. The Great Commission is to teach others to love God and love others. You can love God with all your heart, soul and mind, but there is another part to that, and that is loving others. Care ministry is all about how do we love others well and take care of our family well, so they can, in turn, love others.
Q. Why do you feel called to take on this new role?
A. When I joined staff at church, I took a StrengthsFinder test. My strengths were empathy, harmony, includer, communicator and positivity. When you look at that, you know I’m not a systems guy. I’m terrible at spreadsheets. But one thing I do love is people. I have always gravitated toward that kind of work. I don’t want anyone to feel alone. If someone is hurting or going through something, I want to get in there and see if there is anything that can be done. As Christ followers, we are all called to do this for each other, so that we can walk through the trenches together.
Q. It seems like a lot of this work is about sharing the burden when life gets too heavy. How do you stay positive and motivated when this kind of work can be so emotionally draining?
A. The possibilities keep me going. The sense that you never know what might emerge from even the darkest situation. You just never know what a kind word or sitting and listening to someone is going to set in motion. God can take something small and transform a life, and we might not even realize it’s happening. That’s what excites me. With God, anything is possible, and we can be a part of that.
Q. How can our church family pray for you and participate in this ministry going forward?
A. I think prayers for strength for both myself and the team members who step into these roles. When you walk through difficult times with people, it can take a lot out of you. We need our church family to be praying so that we can consistently go to God for nourishment rather than letting the work exhaust us to the point that we look elsewhere to fill my tank.
And I’d like to invite anyone who has ideas about what a care ministry could look like at Hoboken Grace to reach out to me. I’m looking for people who feel called to love in this way and would like to get involved.
For more information or to get in touch with Anthony, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.