In almost 10 years at Mountain View, Cline and his family have developed deep connections with their congregation that expand their capacity to love their neighbors and contribute to God’s work in their area.
The community Cline and his family experience find its way into his preaching. “When I am preaching I try to share stories that help people relate with me, especially stories where I didn’t get it right,” he said. When we share parts of our stories with others, it lets them partake in our life journey and helps them “see the pastor as a normal person,” he shared.
Cline’s weekly schedule leads him outside the church walls and into connections with congregants in their daily settings. “If they want to have lunch, I will meet them at their work, and I am able to engage with them in their arena,” he said. Cline also builds community outside the church walls by bringing his work to a local coffee shop, showing up at barbecues or hanging out in the community park.
One of Mountain View’s greatest gifts to the Cline family is their overall encouragement toward pastoral health. For the Clines, self-care practices include going for hikes, having movie nights, playing games and taking the occasional spontaneous night away at a hotel for the children to be able to go swimming.
However, in seasons when ministering presents especially difficult challenges, Mountain View congregants also give more explicit encouragement. Cline said that words of encouragement expressed through email or cards remind him of his calling. Cline cited one man in the church who is particularly faithful in sending cards of encouragement and reminding him that he’s praying for him. “And it doesn’t hurt that he includes a gift certificate for golf along with it,” he said.
For congregants looking to cultivate an ecosystem of care in their church, Cline recommends some questions to consider:
- “What kind of support would be most helpful in this season of life?”
- “What are some specific things I can do to help?”
- “How can I love his or her children well?”
- “How can I go first in getting to know my pastor?”
Asking these questions – of yourself and maybe to your pastor directly – and then acting on them can be a tremendous encouragement to those in shepherding roles.
For more information on pastor Cline or Mountain View Church, check out their website: https://www.mtviewchurch.net