I have often referred to the need for a good Pastoral Care team here at St Aug’s.
I just want to elaborate on what I mean, in the hope that I can get a group formed who will overlook this important ministry.
Pastoral care is generally based on the ideas of the leaders of a church as shepherds in Scripture. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
Pastoral care is generally used as a term referring to the practices leaders of a church do, to shepherd or care for individuals in their local congregation. For example, some aspects of pastoral care could include hospital visitation, visits to elderly church members, prayer with church members, or similar practices.
In reality, pastoral-care ministries are just as valuable as the delivery of a sermon. Caring for a person who is struggling with a difficulty, being present during a time of pain, praying with someone in a crisis—these are the moments when spiritual breakthroughs occur. Ministering through a good, biblically sound sermon is absolutely necessary. But ministering through a personal touch, i.e., pastoral care, is just as important. This ministry is a witness to the abiding presence of God’s love, from the bedside of a newborn baby to the bedside of a patient as they come close to death. They offer us a profound gift!
The parish, while caring for one another through Home Groups and friendships, needs a dedicated group of leaders who can come together regularly to discuss the needs of those they care for, and to report to your clergy about on-going needs. It is essential that people don’t “fall through the cracks” and are left uncared for!
I am happy to provide basic training sessions to get the group started, and am willing to journey with any of you who might feel called to be God’s presence amongst the suffering.
Below is a little more information on the Ministry of Pastoral Care.
The foundation of good pastoral care is “Caring through Listening.” Many people struggle to sign up for this Ministry, believing that all it entails is sharing thoughts and stories as a link between the church and individuals. I beg to differ!
Good pastoral care means being God’s absolute Presence for the individual being ministered to. In many situations, it comes down to simply being with the individual and listening to his / her story of grief, hurt and disappointment
In many cases, this good listening will just be 2 – 3 minutes on the phone; in others it might mean being physically present at someone’s house or Residential Care room and encouraging the individual to unload their sense of grief on to yourself. In yet other cases, it might mean prayerfully engaging with the individual through encouragement and Scripture. In all cases, you as a Carer, are taking on the burden and sharing the load of the individual. By simply listening!
Pastoral Care is a Spirit-led Ministry and I know of many, many Carers whose lives are changed and who feel God’s Presence while they sit with someone. This is an absolute blessing, and you will not know what I mean until you have tried it.
While my desire is to be able to visit EVERYONE in need, sadly, this is not possible and I am reaching out to you all for help in maintaining connectivity amongst our vulnerable. It will not take too much of your time, but it certainly will be valuable!
So come and join this Ministry. Come as you are!
With blessings, Kofe