Some thoughts on Pastoral Care
Why should we seek to care?
The Bible teaches that as Christians seeking to follow our Lord we are compelled to love and care for those whom God has placed in our church and in our lives.
Paul’s eternal perspective motivated his pastoral ministry and led him to expect the same of the Thessalonian Christians. Thessalonians 5:14 gives a wonderful summary for pastoral care: “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” The four verbs: warn, encourage, help and be patient display Christian love and care in action.
Church leaders are to show love and care as they teach (see Timothy and Titus), elders are to care for the flock (see 1 Peter 5) and all Christians are to show the love of Christ to one another as they serve one another in love (see 1 Peter 1 and 1 Peter 4).
So pastoral care plays an important role in the lives of both the individuals and the larger church family here at St Peters. While we know that all Christians should play some role in caring for one another, we accept that some people are more gifted and more able to do so. To this end the St Peters staff seek to encourage and equip God’s people for their acts of service (Eph. 4:12) in this vital area of ministry.
How do we seek to care?
The Fellowship Groups (FGs) have become key areas of care at St Peters. There has been increasing evidence of deep care taking place within the FGs. We’ve been thrilled to see this development and have tried to further equip leaders and co-leaders in this area. FG leaders report serious concerns to Sean, via the Community Leaders.
We encourage everyone who joins St Peters to join a Growth Group or a Fellowship Group. One of the reasons for this is that these groups become places of care – much like the netted area on Fish Hoek beach… This is where the lifeguards sit and can monitor how the swimmers are doing and care for them when necessary!
The pastors, members of the Pastoral Care Team, and a number of other members of the church family, do pastoral visitations. The pastors oversee formal pastoral counseling, with Sean in particular, taking the lead in this.
The pastoral staff, apprentices and many others meet one-to-one with members of the congregation. These meetings take many different forms, but usually involve reading the Bible, praying, talking, and encouraging one another. The Changing Hearts Course seeks to equip everyone to care for others as God uses them as instruments of His change.
We run a Pastoral Care List that helps us monitor who is in a season of particular need and also who can provide care. The Pastoral Care Team takes ownership of the List and tries to ensure that each person is cared for.
Members of the congregation are encouraged to seek opportunities to love and care for one another. It is usually through members of the congregation that we find out who needs caring for. So please inform Sean or Cecil Coomer if you know of someone who is struggling.
On top of this, we run the Divorce Care and Grief Share courses, monthly Communion Services at the retirement villages, as well as the Marriage Enrichment course twice a year. All of these seek to help those who may be struggling in specific ways.
We’re always looking to improve this area of ministry, but under God we are hearing some wonderful stories of how His people are being loved and cared for. Please join us in doing this and praying that this would happen more and more.
Sean Savides (Minister for Membership)