This is exactly what Carey said. He said you train people up to do the pastoral care in the trenches through grouplife initiatives. We care for each other, not the pastor cares for everyone. Sighting, at the begining of his article, that the vast majority of churches with congregations smaller than people is a problem. I would firstly like to ask the author why he believes that a person church is undesirable. It seems clear to me that if people is the optimum size for pastoral care, then this is a good size to have. Kingdom growth simply means that you have more of them.
Another point which I picked up from the language is the general lack of emphasis on training and equiping. The author seems to be advocating the wholesale delegation of pastoral care; but not giving a clear picture on how those needs are now to be met. But in restructuring a church, careful consideration needs to be given to how these needs are now to be met. I do appreciate that the author could have perhaps been deliberately provocative with the title of this article. But I do also detect a subtle idolatry creeping into this line of argument.
An idolatry which should be identified and addressed. Raising up other followers of Jesus who do the same is the goal. We need to do this in smaller groups and one on one whenever possible. Having home groups in a larger church is a good way to do this. Healthy accountability, as opposed to disfunctional accountability is the way to do this.
Regarding pastoral care, it seems pretty simple. Those with the gift of leadership… lead. However, each has our unique calling. Just like all of us give, not all have the gift of giving. All of us are to serve, but for some, it is their principle gift. All of us are to show compassion mercy but some have this in abundant measure. If the entire body fulfills their calling, we have… the body of Christ. If someone primarily is called to pastoral care, it might be difficult to adequately fulfill other role such as teaching, vision casting, etc. Get all believers on the right seat on the bus, and it will go as far as God intends.
This is why he gives us spiritual gifts! This is a good article, but an even more fascinating discussion. The basic question seems to come down to what God wants for the church. Perhaps love God, then neighbor and self? Perhaps feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, shelter to the stranger, and visit the sick and the prisoner. Many churches have turned these directives upside down. Love us, pastor. Feed, shelter, and visit us, pastor. A church that follows these clues will be active in its community and will attract new people through its service, and grow.
What matter is how the church cares for the community in which it lives. Corey is absolutely right. The pastor is called to lead and model and equip the church for this service. Thanks Corey for this article, this is so true. I serve a church that was wise enough to realize that congregational care could reach much further than pastoral care alone.
I, as senior pastor, still provides care in urgent and important situations, but trained, gifted lay persons provide the on-going care. Thanks to the faithfulness and leadership of these lay leaders and the power of God, our church has been able to grow well beyond the barrier, and God willing, will keep growing and reaching new people.
The Seminary approach to providing church leadership is contra-biblical——-Disciple Making is the Biblical method. If you do not understand that, you have much learning to do. Another way to through the pastoral care trap is to embrace the New Testament concept of ekklesia where Christ-followers serve and minister to one another. Thank you so much for this article. Much of the problem lies in the language we use. I believe the word for this is abomination. I used to go to a church just like this. After 17 years, 5 different pastors, prayer meetings giving way to the pastor teaching instead, I realized I had to leave in order to come alive spiritually again.
Also my children needed to see a more Biblical model so they could live too. She now wants to go to Uganda for a long-term mission. More money […]. Sure, leadership is an important part of pastoral work, and delegation is a good part of leadership. It is perfectly fair to criticize pastors who fall into the trap of loving to be needed pastoral idolatry? Some people get too dependent on the pastor.
Others like me never see the pastor nor any care. There is a thing as too little pastoral care. I have never really seen it unless I was at the hospital visiting a grand parent when clergy came. For all the committee meetings and time consuming nonsense, there needs to be some care about ordinary people. Yet why should my opinion count? I see your premise as flawed.
It is NOT measured by programs or buildings. One who loves Jesus obeys His Word. In the pastoral epistles the directive is to feed His sheep. Preach the Word. Feed the sheep—not the goats. Feed the sheep—not entertain the goats. Spend your time preaching the word of the Cross which is the power of God for salvation. Get over yourself. You are not Christ. You are not the reason the church exists. You are not the one that saves anyone. Repent of your self-serving nature and return to your first love, if it is. God will add to the number of the church. As the senior leader of a congregation I have frequently seen Pastors do the inverse of what God is doing.
It may seem odd but I see true pastoral care like Paliative Care — comfort them while they die. God is trying to lead us to the cross and die to ourselves but instead, many are busy trying to keep alive what ought to die. Without diving too deep into the atonement; I see the cross as helping us understand how we can overcome realities that seek to denigrate, demoralize, and destroy us. The focus should not be on the cross, but instead on the redemptive and empowering message of transforming the stories and symbols of our lives so that we may serve in our fullest capacity.
I am flabbergasted by this response. Pastoral care is not evangelism, nor should it be, ever, ever, ever. To evangelize during a crisis is an abuse of power and abusive to those who hurt, and that is nowhere near leadership in my book. God bless you Jason but you might be confused. Are you responding to me or someone else? Palliative care is by nature comforting and loving. Buck up? These are your words.
My initial point was to underscore the call to deny ourselves and carry our crosses. No one is denying proper relational care, it is the Christ Complex too many people walk in which is being addressed in this article. Thank you for your clarification. I appreciate your ability to stick to the topic at hand. Thanks for your reply.
I see a lot of defensiveness in some of the negative responses to this article. Like we all often do, some of these have drawn from other conversations and interactions not present here. This results in an unfair polarizing as we assign to others dimensions of meaning not contained in their response. Just to clarify what I am saying — there is a model of ministry driven by a needy self-serving people which is happily being filled by others who want to be needed.
This does not necessarily invalidate anyone unless the shoe fits. The motive of everyone who serves is the pivotal issue here. Like the mother who does everything for their children there comes a time to call people to own their lives. This is not uncaring but an expression of selfless courage, assuming it is being done properly… Granted a large assumption. But just because some are not doing it correctly does not suggest it cannot or does not have to be done.
The Bible is not a book of inspirational stories for people to apply to their own lives. Turning the Bible into a self-help book is mere idolatry. God died an agonizing death on the cross? Are you saying God is dead now? Or that he thought he would be? As this is happening, they feel forsajen and hopeless. The only body they have is broken and a source of torment. They wonder if these are the last moments of their existence.
His body hurt horribly, but it was just a costume and would soon be shed and never borne again. He just had to hold on for a little while longer. These do not sound like the same experience to me. Can you please explain to me how God can suffer like a human being? Are you requiring Eli to provide the extended details of your two paragraph description of being crucified each time he mentions Christ Crucified? Which is not relevant to his comments. I beg to differ. Reading the Bible as a book of stories that are often fictional but nevertheless inspiring stories is exactly what I do, and the reason is because claims such as that the Creator of all that is could possibly experience the same suffering as mortal, embodied beings make no sense to me.
Eli has not supported his claim, IMO. Then you do not consider the Bible as inspired by God? If so, then it has no authority than any other book, and all that is written there does not have the signifigance that millions of believers have accorded to it. This will be my last reply, as this does not feel like a sacred and safe place to disagree and talk about those disagreements, while feeling heard and valued.
This is the reason why I usually delete these articles from my facebook feed, and for now I will return to that practice. I can appreciate the different ways that we all approach faith, approach God and Jesus; I am glad you find value in the words you speak and that it gives you life and passion. If I communicated anything differently, then I accept responsibility for that. Thank you for time and effort in these places, for expressing your points of view. I hope they continue to provide you with the sustenance you need to experience the active love and presence of God in the worlds you reside.
If not, then I regret misreading your ambiguous stance. Are you serious, Jason? Please tell me you are joking? Upon that cross the King of Kings, out Sinless Savior laid down His life and our sins were the nails that were driven into His body. He suffered and died willingly for us, so that we may be forgiven for our sins and reconciled to the Father, as sons and daughters.
What I think he is asserting is that they become ranchers instead of simply shepherds. Think of the early church in Acts 6. The apostles recognized as the church grew, they could no longer handle being fully involved in the care aspect food distribution and also remain fully committed to the teaching of the word.
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So they became ranchers. They simply said we need to delegate so it is done well. What was the result? The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. Because they created a structure conducive to growth, growth occurred. The Bible calls pastors shepherds, not ranchers. If the church is too big for a pastor to adequately care for all his flock, a new church should be formed. This is a huge problem in the church. Every member of the church is a priest with Christ as our high priest.
To expect the pastor of a church to care for you and not be expected to also be a minister of care is unbiblical. Where would that leave the early leaders who appointed others to do the serving so they could give themselves to prayer and the word. This model makes room for only one dimension of ministry. Problem solved. No church was meant to be led by one pastor. And so, burnout, pastoral malpractice, neglect of sheep, etc.
Thank you for this, I read it a couple of days ago and while there are some points to be made about what it means to lead, I have issues of how pastoral care is characterized. As I understand how the term is used, its description is antiquated, especially in relationship to how I understand and teach pastoral care today; care is as much about comfort as it is about challenge, support as it is about empowerment. It is meant to help people find their place in a community of faith when crises or tragedies befall them, as well as remind them of their strengths and empower them to speak and lead in these moments as well.
A good leader empathizes, is compassionate, loving, leads from their strengths while recognizing the strengths around them. Good leadership begets good pastoral care, mainly because of the empowering way that good leaders help people understand their own gifts, talents, strengths, and resiliency as a community in these times of trouble. Pastoral care is not hand holding, that is not empowered care and asset-based thinking. Furthermore, good leadership is not devoid of empathetic and compassionate care for people in crisis.
Good leadership and pastoral care is honest about our own gifts and strengths as pastors, and helps people find the right resources they need for support, rather than assuming all duties for all people I think you are right about this to some extent, and those commenting are right about their suspicion of the CEO type leader as well. I had the same reaction, Jason. The article is condescending about pastoral care as a profession. But hire someone who does. When that happens, people tend to do just as he asserted….
If our passion is to see more people come to Christ, we need to create an environment where this can happen. If the ministry of care is delegated out to smaller groups, the care will be handled much better anyways. However, the pastoral leader must embody values of care in order to create community. We have enough messages in the workplace about a lack of care for employees, seeing them only as assets or problems rather than people with strengths who are struggling, that they should not see that in their pastor as well.
Where is the illumination of these qualities in the pastor, rather than just the ceding of pastoral care duties in the service of greater numbers in the church? There is a difference between attracting members and creating disciples… have we learned nothing from the examples of megachurches? There is a difference between a cult of personality and community of faith…. There is a lot of truth in here. However, I wonder if maybe the point of church is actually providing care Heb. I have pastored churches in the range and the pastor doing all the care can be overwhelming at times.
However, I have noticed that care extends to not only those in the church but often those who have left for mega-churches. When it is time for a wedding…I am called and not one of the mega-church pastors. When a funeral rolls around, the small church pastor almost always gets the call. I am more than happy to help because I know the people because I spent time with them…I did life with them. In this […]. No matter what, pastors need to care. Ministry is caring — caring about their personal wellbeing and caring about their spiritual growth. Pastors need to show care in a multitude of ways. We start every Bible study or adult class with 10 or 15 minutes of prayer concerns.
I carry around prayer cards with me, and when I become aware of a need, I can offer to pray with them right then, right there, as well as hand them a card they can fill out so the prayer team will support them. The other day I heard that the drummer missed praise band rehearsal because their baby is sick, and it took me 20 seconds to send them a text.
Excellent post. How would you respond to a church member who is upset with the pastor over not visiting her in the hospital or something similar like that. He should visit everyone. Where are you getting these stances from? You said something similar below. Explain scripturally why you hold to this stance: that the pastor should keep the church small so he can individually care for and visit every sick or struggling person.
I was in a church that turned to small group leadership in a big way. The pastors would barely say hello in passing and the small groups easily became cliquish and controlling. The small group leaders thought they were appointed by God and tried to exert a huge amount of influence over my life. They had favorites in the group and would hardly speak to others. This is just one experience with small group leadership, and my own perspective, but these are some dangers in this church model.
I certainly resonate with much of the explanation about how pastoral care can become dysfunctional and codependent, hence limiting the growth of a church community. Of course, as a church grows, the delegation of pastoral care must creatively spread out in order to maintain the health of a faith community; but this cannot be to the exclusion of a pastor being a pastor.
For example, a lead pastor could easily transition from being on-call, to providing pastoral care for pastors who are on-call. In other words, care for other caregivers is pastoral care. They do not step out of the pastoral care function to grow their church, yet they may shift how and who they care for. Thanks for your post. I hope you receive my thoughts not as over-inflating the issue, but perhaps contributing or adding an addendum. I have mixed feelings about this, like you. I think the article has a lot of wisdom and raises important points.
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I think what you are having trouble with is a confusion of terminology. Centuries later we have lost this distinction. This article nails the problem. Most are naturally inclined towards one area, while only adequate in the other. A healthy church, and a healthy leadership, realizes the natural skillset of their minister and sets him up to win by making sure his responsibilities lie where he is gifted. Pastoral Care is important.
Being a pastor is a lost art. Life is messy and it takes time. The point of being a pastor is not to free up your time so you can manage and administrate better — healing happens one person at a time. Strategic Planning is not the point The larger you get, the more strategic you become. Yes, the church is an organization, and it should be organized and the mission should be clear and the question of how something is going to be a accomplished is important.
But, Holiness is much more substantial than a few more buts in the seats. Developing leaders is a tricky art that takes a long time, and it is prone to failure Jesus took 3 years to develop his leaders, and I suspect he spent time with them before the three years we have recorded in the Gospels. Volunteers need the opportunity to mess things up Excellence is not what the church is about. Yes, we need to do things well, but if we are hindered by quality control, we will never give people the opportunity to learn through practice.
A church ruled by small groups is dangerous! They are not a substitute for pastoral care, and they are not what gives you church a better sense of community. Discipleship, life on life irritation, is best served over coffee over many weeks. Your analytics change for the worse The way you understand success changes as you get bigger. There is a point when people take a back seat to a hyper focus on the implementation of the mission for each event. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
As a result, the dreams of pastors of most small and even mid-sized churches go unrealized. If pastors could better handle the issue of pastoral care, many more churches would grow. Click To Tweet How Pastors Die Trying When the pastor has to visit every sick person, do every wedding and funeral and make regular house calls, attend every meeting, and lead every bible study or group, he or she becomes incapable of doing almost anything else. Caring for 30 people personally is possible.
Caring for is not. Many pastors burn out trying. Click To Tweet The pastoral care model most seminaries teach and most congregations embrace creates false and unsustainable expectations. Consequently, almost everyone gets hurt in the process. You need to structure bigger to grow bigger. Traditional pastoral care establishes a real co-dependency; the pastor needs to be needed. Since when did that become the criteria for effective Christian leadership?
The goal of Christian leadership is to lead, not to be liked. The goal of Christian leadership is to lead, not be liked. Click To Tweet If a church is going to grow, congregations have to let go of the expectation that their pastor will be available for every medical emergency, every twist and turn in their lives, every family celebration and every crisis.
Sometimes it seems like most churches want a puppy, not a pastor. Have the courage to shift care to the congregation. Groups-based care isn't just practical. It's biblical. Click To Tweet I have been the pastoral care giver in a small church. What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change You can learn more and gain instant access to the course today. Click To Tweet Too Scared? Too scared to have the conversation? What do you think? Scroll down and leave a comment. Posted in Leadership , Spiritual Growth , Strategy and tagged change , church , growth , health , honesty , Leadership , Spiritual Growth , vision.
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Nicholas Nganga Nakuru,Kenya. Lengo Wilson on August 10, at am. Racheal Lawrence on August 19, at am. I appreciate the article. Good points of discussion. Jay on October 5, at am. John on October 19, at pm. Pam Osborn on January 23, at pm. Walker hartman on February 9, at am. Hi racheal I think you have hit the nail on the head as to the purpose of the church being spiritual maturity or transformation.
Shane on February 9, at pm. Christina on July 9, at am. Pauline Loughhead on June 17, at pm. Christoph on June 15, at pm. Lee on June 16, at am. It is amazing how God gives us directions in His word, Exodus Kenneth Howard on August 10, at am. I believe there is more love among a few than trying to love and care for the massive. Morigan on April 16, at am. Kathy Jackson on April 9, at pm. David Morrow on March 22, at am.
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The Sanity Inspector on April 29, at pm. Wilson Harp on April 22, at am. Ephesians So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Let me emphasize that again. That should be our model. RWilliams on August 25, at am. Ali Griffiths on April 17, at am. Ali, I can sense your aggravation with this topic and I understand your view. His servant and yours, Matt. Ali Griffiths on April 29, at am. Christoph Koebel on April 29, at am. Truthbtold on April 4, at am. Carey Nieuwhof on April 4, at am. Joel Bader on March 16, at am. Benjamin on March 16, at am. Ed Taylor on March 19, at pm. Benjamin on March 29, at pm.
Mature followers are not produced by having Sunday night home groups lol. Sam on February 17, at am. Thank you Carey! Your podcasts really touch so many realms of ministry and life. Kirk T.
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No, not for the whole community, but for the flock of believers. Brenda North on February 11, at pm. Steve Simms on January 8, at am. Adam Kilner on January 4, at pm. Dear Carey: Thank you! I am very thankful for the ongoing thoughtful posts you offer! Steve Nelson on December 7, at am. Charles Pritt on November 21, at pm. Trent Tanaro on November 21, at pm. Mark on November 21, at pm.
Charles Jr. I am a pastor and I agree with you we need more old school truths. Russell on November 19, at pm. Ryan on November 19, at pm. Church Growth: Pastoral Care internetmonk. Marc Brisebois on November 18, at pm. Jason Whitehead on November 19, at am. Marc Brisebois on November 19, at am. Are we denying the call to deny ourselves and carry our crosses? Marc Brisebois on November 20, at am.
Jason Whitehead on November 20, at pm. Marc Brisebois on November 20, at pm. Amy Zucker Morgenstern on November 20, at am. Amy Zucker Morgenstern on January 17, at am. If you do not believe that, you do not believe the Gospel, or God. May He make himself known to you. Russell on November 20, at pm.
RWilliams on November 18, at pm. Love this! RWilliams on November 19, at pm. Chad Richard Bresson on November 18, at am. Jason Whitehead on November 18, at am. Dedangelo on November 18, at am. I challenged them to think of the fact that if they have not put their faith in Christ and they were to die today, their sin would keep them from heaven, but explained that Christ is the Way to heaven and purpose in here-and-now life! Four of them put their faith in Christ last night. I sat down with them and asked if we could go through The Way to Joy together.
I showed them a copy of the book and a presented a brief outline.
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They were all excited to come back and go through it with me. I have invited one of our other youth leaders to sit in with me to learn how to use The Way to Joy with youth. They were very positive! Thanks to God for His work in and through myself and ministry team in our church.
Hooks for Hanging the Bible's Storyline Visuals. A complete set of 25 Bible era teaching visuals with corresponding events listed on the back of each era visual. The activities for teaching Hooks are FUN for students of all ages, even the teachers. And there are FREE instructional helps. Hooks for Hanging the Old Testament Storyline. A student worksheet designed to help teach participants to grasp an overview of the Old Testament in a 50 minute to 2 hour session.
Hooks for Hanging the New Testament Storyline. A student worksheet designed to help you teach participants to grasp an overview of the New Testament in a 50 minute to 2 hour session. They were amazed and enjoyed it - and everyone understood. More Information. A kit providing the resources needed to teach the Old Testament portion of the Bible's Big Story chronologically. A kit providing the resources needed to teach the New Testament portion of the Bible's Big Story chronologically. Everybody loves a good story! And this missionary story teaches many of the Good Soil evangelism and discipleship concepts.
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The Chronological Bridge to Life Visuals. Set of 8 laminated teaching visuals focusing on 8 essential truths. The Chronological Bridge to Life Cards. These playing-size cards are designed to be used in presenting the "ChronoBridge to Life" in personal witnessing. ChronoBible Cards: Genesis-Revelation. A complete set of pocket-size cards 4. Pocket-size cards for learning and reviewing key Bible events as they appear chronologically from Genesis through Revelation. Each Bible event card contains an image from the Good Soil Redemptive Story art collection on the front and key content information on the back.
Reflections - The Audio Experience. The audio narratives interweave music, sound effects, and dramatic voices from 20 professional voice actors. MP3 files are on a flash drive. Listen to a sample audio montage Watch a video to see how the Reflections - The Audio Experience audio stories are correlated with the printed and visually illustrated stories in the Reflections from God's Story of Hope coffee table storybook.
View the video For you to use in your ministry and to encourage those to whom you are ministering to load on their own mobile devices. Mobile app. Apple and Android mobile apps. The redemptive story Bible event images are synchronized with the audio narratives. Available to those that have received Good Soil Trainer Certification. The top ten takeaways from Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship training:. It will enhance your ability to teach teens, beyond what you can probably imagine.
You will…. For More Information and to Register. This BibleStorying Bible story telling workshop will enhance your skills as a Bible story teller and teacher. You will learn lots of tips and techniques for improving your ability to tell Bible stories that will gain and hold student interest. And, you will learn about—and practice using—several Good Soil Bible teaching resources. Gaining Ground with Good Soil is an evangelism and discipleship training narrative—a scaled-down version of the Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship seminar in a narrative format. The principles gained from this book are applicable for anyone wishing to serve God through Biblical evangelism and discipleship, but is especially instructive and helpful for ministry leaders, including youth pastors and other adults who work with teens.
The realistic, but fictional narrative, around which the book is developed, tells the story of a couple of missionaries who were frustrated and discouraged—to the point of almost giving up—because of their lack of success in evangelism and discipleship on their field. But, the "Good Soil" principles they learned from Bible study revolutionized their ministries. It will help you think through a theology of evangelism and discipleship and help you to present the gospel so that people will clearly understand it, sincerely embrace it, and firmly hold on to it.