top of page

Connecting Practically

By Sam Rahberg

This spring, Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission has gathered aspiring lay pastoral caregivers for our first iteration of the Community of Hope International training. About halfway through the 14 modules, we are discovering two dynamics that reflect the heart and commitment of these caregivers—they are hungry for connection and they are eager to practice what they are learning. These insights may not come as a surprise to other COHI circles, especially because the curriculum is designed to serve and sustain these very purposes. However, we as trainers are paying close attention to these dynamics as signs of our times and instructions for our facilitation.


First, we detect a pervasive hunger to be more truly seen and heard. Given the slightest opening into a meaty question, our participants—nearly to a person!—become generous with their stories and transparent with their questions. That comes as testimony to the broader need for listeners and safe spaces in which people can share. It also means we as facilitators need to be focused and intentional so that this kind of connection has room to breathe.


Second, we recognize people’s desire to “translate into action these holy teachings” (to borrow a phrase from Benedict’s Rule). We observe whole-hearted participation in the sharing exercises and significant stories of impact about how this training is already making a difference in their ordinary lives. That just seems good for the world and underscores how facilitators need to preserve room for this kind of guided practice in our gatherings. The next time we meet, we’ll be debriefing their first practice visits. We’re learning that it is essential for the facilitators to cultivate a spirit of genuine connection and grounded practice—with strong attention to the rhythms of our short times together. That sounds not unlike the ways we are connecting practically in a pastoral visit, too!



This article originally appeared in the April 2024 Community of Hope International newsletter. For more information about COHI, visit their website at For more information about lay pastoral caregiver training through Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission, please contact Sam Rahberg at

12 views0 comments


bottom of page