As a pastor it is not uncommon for me to spend time visiting parishioners who are hospitalized, but this week I made a hospital visit of another kind. I went to the University of Kansas Medical Center to learn about the work of a member of Christ Community, Dr. Matt Earnest whose vocational calling is an interventionist cardiologist.
For several hours I had the privilege of shadowing and observing Dr. Earnest and his highly skilled medical team as they diagnosed and performed delicate procedures aimed at arresting heart disease and extending the length and quality of life of fellow image bearers of God. During every procedure, Dr. Earnest coached younger physicians who were observing and learning from him as they continued their medical training to become board certified cardiologists. Observing this hands on training and coaching by Dr. Earnest reminded me how much the training of younger pastors would be improved if we had more churches like Christ Community that embraced a teaching hospital model and were committed to pastoral residencies.
It was also a delight to observe the gentle and Christlike bedside manner Dr. Earnest displayed with patients and their families. When facing matters of the heart, patients and family members inevitably come face to face with their own mortality. On one occasion, as Dr. Earnest introduced me as his pastor, a worried family member asked me if I would pray. As we prayed a sense of peace flooded the hospital room and I could not help but marvel at the seamlessness of the moment where work and worship were truly one reality.
I left Kansas University Medical Center thanking God for the privilege of serving parishioners like Dr. Earnest who are deeply committed to connect Sunday worship with their Monday work. I am most grateful to Dr. Earnest and his highly competent team for their wonderful hospitality and willingness to endure my myriad of questions. I think we were all amazed I didn’t even feel light-headed once with all the needles and blood. Dr. Matt keep up the great work!