You invest your life every day helping others through tough times. But when you and your family go through difficult times where do you turn? Caring for your congregation is obviously important, but caring for yourself and your family is essential.
One of the most important ways that you can care for yourself and your family is to recognize when you need help and then ask for it. Unfortunately, we often have too many reasons, good and bad, that deter us from asking for help when we need it. Sometimes we simply aren't sure who we can safely call. Now there's no reason not to ask for help and you will never have to wonder again who you can call.
We are excited and privileged to announce a confidential, toll-free pastoral care number for all Wesleyan clergy and their families in North America: 1.877.REV.CARE.
Education & Clergy Development is privileged to be partnering with EMERGE Counseling Services for this initiative. EMERGE has been offering quality care and counseling to clergy and their families for over 40 years. They especially understand pastors and their families and stand ready to assist you with emotional, relational, and spiritual care. This number is available to call now. Here are some answers to important questions you may have:
1. Who can call this number? Any pastor, spouse, or child of a minister in The Wesleyan Church in both the U.S. and Canada. Please make sure your spouse and children know they can call this number.
2. Is it confidential? Yes. One of the main reasons this number goes to a trusted third-party caregiver is to help guarantee confidentiality. No personal identifiers are collected or maintained. You will be asked to volunteer your district affiliation, but this is only for statistical records and accounting and only if you feel comfortable providing it. All information remains anonymous and only aggregate numbers are reported to our office after a significant number of calls are taken from any given district. This is to assure complete confidentiality. Your sense of safety and well-being is our primary concern. Confidentiality is of utmost importance if this care is to be trusted.
3. Is it REALLY confidential? Absolutely. NO ONE in The Wesleyan Church will know who calls this number. No names or personal identifiers are recorded.
4. Is there a cost to you? There is no charge. REVCARE is a toll-free number. Our division and other ministry partners are covering the costs of this service.
5. Is this number only for a crisis? No. It is actually intended to be a crisis prevention number. Clearly if you are in a personal crisis please call. But we hope you will call any time you are struggling and would like some help. If you catch yourself wondering if you should call, then call. Reaching out for positive care early and often is a proven strategy for increasing your resilience and helping you flourish. (If you are facing an actual safety emergency or physical threat, always call 911.)
6. What are the reasons I might call? You may call for any issue of personal concern: stress, moral struggles, depression, conflict issues, relational problems, or anything else you feel is a need.
7. When can I call? The REVCARE line is open Monday-Friday between 11:00am and 5:00pm EST. If you call at other times you will hear a message but you will not be able to leave a message. To ensure confidentiality, EMERGE Counseling Services will not return calls from voicemail.
8. What can I expect when I call? First of all a warm, wise and friendly voice. The caregiver will ask you what you would like to talk about. The caregiver will help you with any issue you choose to discuss. You can also call back more than once.
9. What if I would like face-to-face or ongoing care? If you would like face-to-face interaction or ongoing care, the caregiver will help you identify a skilled, licensed, and trusted counselor or other appropriate caregiver in your region. We are continually working to build this trusted network of counselors throughout North America.
10. Why should I call? God cares about you more than your ministry. In everyone's life and ministry there are relationships, seasons, and episodes which can be very difficult and even damaging to you, your family, and your ministry. However, for clergy the personal and professional stakes of confession or revelation of certain struggles can deter ministers from reaching out early and often for appropriate care and/or counseling. If we do not have a source of care that we can trust completely, those issues will remain unresolved and a drain on our joy, health, and ministry. In some cases they may wreak havoc on our lives, our loved ones, and those to whom we minister. Secrecy and isolation exacerbate all problems large or small. Having a completely confidential third-party source for clergy care and counseling is a first step toward banishing them from our lives and maintaining our well-being and effectiveness.
We are deeply committed to both you and your family's well-being. We hope this number will help us all be healthy, fit, and effective so we may continue to experience God's gift of abundant life and share the gospel with our churches and communities.
We all know there are times when we should turn somewhere for help. When those times come, 1.877.REV.CARE is there for you. Please feel free to call.
Yours in Christ,
Russ Gunsalus & Dave Higle,
Education and Clergy Development