Embodying Thoughts and Prayers: Providing Spiritual Care and Comfort

Develop Ministry Skills for Compassionate and Meaningful Care Visits

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Picture yourself offering compassionate, steadying guidance in the midst of someone's uncertainty, job loss, or grief or providing quiet words of comfort during a hospital visit. Imagine the difference you could make during times of trouble and need if you were equipped with the right skills and resources.

The need for congregation members and leaders to step in to provide compassionate peer-to-peer spiritual care is happening more and more often. In our ever-changing world, churches must build competent lay teams to share the responsibility of long care visit lists, and judicatory leaders must empower congregation members to take on visitation ministry where clergy may not be available at all. Especially as they find themselves called to offer solace and support during hard times, these leaders grapple with the question: "How can I provide effective care in such new, diverse, and complex situations?" Together, we are all seeking ways to build stronger, more resilient faith communities that thrive on meaningful spiritual care and comfort—and we are all in need of tools to equip those on the front lines.

This transformative course is designed to supply faith community members with the tools they need to address visitation ministry challenges head-on. With the guidance and resources supplied through this course, we can develop communities of empowered leaders who understand the nuances of care visits and provide peer-to-peer support that strengthens the bonds within congregations.

What You'll Learn

  • Develop a Visitation Guidebook: Pack your personal guidebook with practical prayers, scriptures, and valuable resources that you'll customize for your ministry context along the way.
  • Gain Empathetic Listening Skills: Deepen your ability to profoundly connect with those in need and discern God's guidance through attentive and empathetic listening.
  • Learn Self-Care Techniques: Gain self-care practices to bolster your effectiveness as a caregiver and maintain emotional well-being.
  • Increase Your Ministry Impact: Elevate the impact of your ministry by fostering a culture of compassion and peer-to-peer support within your church community.
  • Refresh Your Understanding of Who God Is: Reflect on rich, Scriptural examples of God's lovingkindness as you center the care you provide in your identity in Christ.

About this Course

  • Modules


  • Learning Elements


  • Videos


  • Practices & Activities


  • Time

6 hours, 30 minutes

  • Price


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Here's What's Inside...

Get oriented to the course, meet your instructor, download the interactive handbook, and more.

In this module, you will:

  • Understand how Jesus embodies God’s care.
  • Determine basic human needs in your community.
  • Meditate on the comfort Jesus gives.

In this module, you will:

  • Learn techniques for deep listening.
  • Develop your ability to listen to God.
  • God’s Care Through ListeningPrepare to provide care to those with life-altering health challenges.

In this module, you will:

  • Learn the importance of presence.
  • Develop trust in God as you wait.
  • Practice strategies for encouraging those who are waiting.

In this module, you will:

  • Learn how self-care enables you to reflect the image of God more fully.
  • Rejoice in who God has made you to be.
  • Practice strategies for taking care of your God-created self.

In this module, you will:

  • Learn skills for encouraging others in long-term difficulties.
  • Practice seeing others through God’s eyes.
  • Develop resources for spiritual care.

In this module, you will:

  • Learn biblical and psychological models for grief and loss.
  • Rest in God’s comfort.
  • Develop skills for supporting those in grief and loss.

Find out your next steps as you complete the course and how to stay connected with your group. You'll also be able to submit feedback about your course.

You'll Learn How to Cultivate Community
a kid reading the holy bible with guide by parents

The bonds of community can be fractured during suffering—or they can be strengthened. By empowering individuals to provide personalized spiritual care and comfort during times of crisis, hardship, or need, we can enrich and deepen the relationships within our congregations, building stronger, more resilient Christ-centered communities. Come discover how to listen deeply and offer encouragement while cultivating self-care and leaning into your identity in Christ. Be a part of forming and maintaining a strong, deeply interconnected community in your faith and ministry setting.

Gain Instant Access

Here's everything you get for just $55:

  • Supportive Community: Join a community of participants who share your journey, providing encouragement, insights, and connections.
  • Skills and Resources: Gain the tools you need to provide powerful and personalized care during visitations and times of need.
  • Self-Care Techniques: Learn how to prioritize your own well-being while pouring into those around you as a caregiver and lay leader.
  • Engaging Videos: Enjoy interactive videos hosted by a facilitator who has both rich training and experience, guiding you throughout a deep exploration of the Scriptural foundations and practicalities of pastoral care.
  • Your Own Personalized Guidebook: Capture your learning and resources in your own context-specific guidebook that you can use for years to come!
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Meet Your Instructor

  • Rev. Dr. Hollie Holt-Woehl

    Rev. Dr. Hollie Holt-Woehl holds a Ph.D. in Pastoral Care and Counseling, with an emphasis on the congregation. Her dissertation, "Congregations as Trinitarian Communities: Accepting, Welcoming, and Supporting People with Chronic Mental Illness," explores congregations welcoming people with mental illness into congregation life. Ordained in 1993 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), she has served congregations in rural, urban, and suburban settings.

    Dr. Holt-Woehl is an Adjunct Professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Since 2008, she has taught the course "Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families" and has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at St John's School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville, MN, since 2021. She is also an intentional interim pastor in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod (ELCA).

    Dr. Holt-Woehl has written “They Don’t Come with Instructions: They Don't Come with Instructions: Cries, Wisdom, and Hope for Parenting Children with Developmental Challenges,” and many other publications.

Connect as you learn

Connect inside the Faith+Lead Learning Lab

Learning happens best when you do it together with folks who are on the same journey as you are.

That's why our private social network, the Faith+Lead Learning Lab, hosts conversations about course content with other learners, instructors, TAs, and community leaders.

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Study together with a small group or congregation

Want to bring Embodying Thoughts and Prayers: Providing Spiritual Care and Comfort to your Bible study, small group, or even your entire congregation?

Choose "Enroll a Group" at checkout and select how many people you'd like to provide access to the course. You can go through the course together in-person, watch lessons together via Zoom, or even create a private group in the Learning Lab where participants can connect asynchronously.

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