Recovery from the pandemic has been a slow process for churches and individuals alike. Author and pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, Bishop T.D. Jakes says the church must rise to the challenge of fostering both physical and spiritual healing.
"The church is needed more than ever before. The gospel is needed more than ever before," Jakes says in a recent panel on churches and COVID-19. He believes it's vital to find "ways that we can minister to the souls of men, the emotions, the mind, memories in a holistic way."
"If you're not sleeping right, if you're not eating right, if you're having digestive issues," he continues, "it may be coming from suppressed trauma that may not be showing outwardly but may be eating you up inwardly."
In this, he says, "ministry is very helpful."
Quoting Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Jakes observes, "trouble doesn't last always, but trauma lasts for a while." Just because the trouble dissipates, "does not mean that the trauma is gone," Jakes says, and this is exactly where the church needs to step in.
Jakes points out that the residue of trauma is prevalent by the increase in gun violence, the "escalation" of murders, divorce and spousal abuse, at especially high numbers during the pandemic. These things need to be a top priority for the church to address, Jakes says.
He then correlates Psalm 142:4 when "David said, 'No man cared for my soul,'" with the responsibility of the church to care for the whole human being, not just the encouragement of physical health.
He says, "The doctors can care for your body, but the church cares for your soul. So whether it takes therapy, counseling, but most of all ministry, to get you to well, that's what we want to see happen."
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