This is one encyclopedia’s definition of Pastoral Care: “Pastoral care is a term applied where Christians offer help and caring to others in their church or wider community. Pastoral care can be listening, supporting, encouraging and befriending.”
Too often, we think of pastoral care as just visiting the homebound or the ill and infirm. We regularly visit folks in nursing facilities, in hospitals or in their homes. We sometimes fail to realize that everyone is in need of pastoral care at one time or another. As loving and caring Christians, we should all keep our “antennae” out to sense the need for pastoral care in others.
“Listening” means giving your full and undivided attention. It does not mean offering a solution to a problem or how to “fix” a situation.
“Supporting” means offering nurture and validity to an individual even if you don’t fully understand his or her needs.
“Encouraging” means bolstering someone’s faith and confidence. We all need to be reminded from time to time that the Holy Spirit will come along beside us to inspire us.
“Befriending” means opening your heart to anyone you believe to be in need of pastoral care.
When we sense a need in someone, a simple “Are you OK?” may well open a floodgate. Our caring response to his or her needs is what pastoral care is all about.
For more information on the Pastoral Care Ministry at Christ Church, contact Carol Miller, Pastoral Care Administrator, 736-3132.