The Pastoral Caregiver’s Casebook, Vol. 1: Ministry in Relationships (2015)

This collection of case studies from pastoral ministry is helpful, though often cursory. I found most helpful the way it demonstrates the width and breadth of experience for chaplains. Another strength is the way it shows different chaplains’ reactions to patients’ needs. The clearest example of this strength was the story of a wife whose husband was in the hospital; she requested that the chaplain visit her husband and pray for him, but added, “He hates pastors.” So instead of simply walking in and saying, “Your wife asked me to pray for you,” he introduced himself and asked to talk, saying, “Your wife loves you so much that she asked the chaplain to come see you.” They eventually got around to a prayer, but I found the way that the chaplain was attuned to the need of the patient over against the desire of the patient’s wife most helpful. The book is also good about giving examples of reflective listening techniques and, in the practitioner’s reflection parts, critiquing visits for better ways to minister.

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