Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Ron's pastoral care 7) In action

After this general teaching Ron moved specifically to our own church situation and advocated a plan of action. We needed to recognize two general categories of pastoral care:
INFORMAL.  Day to day encounters, loving attitudes and spontaneous action.  Fortified by the encouragement, teaching, fellowship and prayer of the church.
FORMAL - in the sense of being organized.  Much depends on the size, location resources of the church.

He then outlined how the church should call and set aside a number of people as members of a CARE TEAM.  The ministers should belong to this group which should include visitors, counsellors etc.  This team requires selection, support, supervision and training.  Team members would have overall view of community needs and particular ministries.

However, vitally, alongside this team there will be a number of CARE GROUPS with leaders who would work with the care team.  These groups should provide more intimate fellowship and informal caring.   Calling them 'care groups' would emphasize the mutuality of support and love yet they would also be groups for prayer, study, evangelism and fun.

Earlier in my ministry the church had agreed that every member should be put into a house-group. We called them sector groups.  Of course, we knew some were unable to attend because of ill health and others because they were 'not small group people'. (I remember reading that no more than 60% of an average congregation would ever attend).  Yet, belonging to a group meant that they were cared for even in their absence.  Renaming them as care groups, providing necessary support and supervision developed them as in Ron's vision.

And guess what?  When I left in 1993, and the church faced two years before my successor came, I am told that not one person left (apart from natural reasons!) As someone put it: 'Those home groups held us together'

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