When We Are Ill

This is a “Faith Conversations” audio interview with Doug Schoen, Associate Pastor for Congregational Care at Elmbrook Church. It was originally aired via radio broadcast on WISN in Milwaukee.

Doug discusses pastoral care and the years he has spent doing hospital and nursing home visitation, normally visiting 8-15 facilities a day all across Southeastern Wisconsin. He discusses best practices for pastoral care and how best to handle such visits from a pastoral level. He also gives practical tips for those doing personal visits with loved ones that are hospitalized or suffering from an illness or injury. He also touches on end-of-life discussions.

In the interview, Doug mentions a pamphlet about visiting the ill. Download the Booklet Here.


About Doug

Doug is Associate Pastor for Congregational Care at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI. He spends much of his time as a self-proclaimed “Emergency Spiritual Technician” (EST) doing hospital and hospice visitation and also helping families cope with the loss of loved ones. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two children, five grandchildren, and a faithful German Shepherd. Doug also enjoys riding his motorcycle, and he has a first degree black belt in Taekwondo.

13 thoughts on “When We Are Ill”

  1. Mel & Doug,
    Thanks so much for addressing this issue with much wisdom and practical applications.
    Doug, your ministry of comfort, presence, and encouragement continues to be a great blessing to many. Thanks for being willing to apply your boundless energy to those in need, and being faithful to God’s calling on your life.

  2. Thanks for the practical tips about times that we feel awkward and the expectations are varied. Doug was a partner helping us naviagte through my mother in-law’s passing and her trip home to be with Jesus. Love can be so practical and sweet without a lot of hand-wringing or pomp and circumstance and your conversation reminded me of the things I can do for others in these times we all face here on earth. Peace.

    1. There are no rights and wrongs when it comes to loving our family. We just do what seems best at the time. I’m truly glad I could be of service to your family.

  3. I was in the hospital last summer and when I woke up in the ICU, there was Doug standing there and praying. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me and encouraged me. We, at Elmbrook, are very fortunate to have Doug serving in our Pastoral Care ministry.

    1. I don’t doubt that any number of people could do what I do with considerably more skill. Yet I am grateful that our Lord has allowed me to serve Him in this way.

  4. Thanks for doing this interview. It is very encouraging. I have been through a life- threatening illness. God did a miracle in my life 9 years ago I got very sick and went into a coma. The doctors said I’d be only a vegetable. God healed me… God also did a miarcle in one of my friend’s lives, except hers was more beautiful than any of us can imagine. My friend was in a tragic car accident last July, and for 6 months was in a semi-coma. God took her home to heaven in January. I have been taught so much since my friend’s death.

    1. You make an excellent point. Being restored to physical health is an amazing thing, but the real miracle is being welcomed into eternal life in the presence of Jesus! Doesn’t get any better than that!

  5. Very impactful interview and thank you Doug for your insight. I have a friend whose 14 mo old baby has malignant brain cancer. It just grieves me to no end and you feel so helpless. I try to help but always think “Oh, this isn’t enough. I could do more!” . Seems so little against everything they are facing. But the day they decided to discountinue the chemo for “Mighty Caleb” and the testimony of how the power of prayer turned that grim diagnosis into something so joyful. As Doug points out….we don’t know what “transformation” God has for us. We’re just asked to have faith.

    Thank you Doug.

    1. God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are incredibly higher than ours. When we see our loved ones in heaven–and realize that they are happier than we could ever imagine–we will be grateful that the Lord took them home when He did.

  6. This faith conversation came at such a perfect time. My dad “Sal” is battling lung cancer and I have not been sure about when to bring up certain topics such as, his eternal perspective or him not being able to confront the eventual outcome. He gets very emotional when the thought that this could take his life sooner than later is discussed. I learned a few things from this conversation and I will definitely be mindful of what the pastor said when I meet again with dad. Thanks very Much -God bless.

    1. As I mentioned in the interview, try asking him what he wants to say to Jesus when he sees Him face to face for the first time. If your dad is ready it will be apparent; if he is not, perhaps this thought will jog him to deeper soul-searching.

  7. Doug: how good to know you are @ Elmbrook. I am an RN working Private duty for the stste of Wisonsin. I am an independent contractor an am in need of a support group. Do you have Christian support meetings, I could attend? Helen Poynter

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