What is Pastoral care

What is Pastoral care

We will discuss here what is pastoral care and Counselling in basic Biblical and theological understanding. If you want to know what is Pastoral care and counseling, then this post is for you. We hope you will learn more about what is Pastoral care and counseling or Pastoral ministry if you read.

What is Pastoral care?

Pastoral care is one of the important ministries of the church. Throughout the Bible, we read about the act of God’s caring for his people. It is also understood as the ‘care of the soul’ and has a theological ground. Through the Bible, God addressed as Israelites shepherd who is the one who watches guides, feeds, provides, protects leads and controls them. (Jn 18:1-11; 21: 16, 17)

Old Testament basis of care and Counselling

The book of Moses attributed God as creator (Gen) Liberator (ex) and Sustainer. The historical books reflect our god’s caring acts by anointing judges, kings, priests, and prophets. A Book of job deals with human suffering. The prophetic book deals with God’s justice, peace, and hope. God cares for the community as well as individuals.

New Testament basis of care and Counselling

God’s service work can understand as regaining the broken relationship with his creation. Jesus Christ became God’s instrument or mediator in this task of reconciliation. In Christ, we find God’s care to all humanity. The new creation was work possible through Jesus Christ. Jesus identifies himself with the suffering of humanity. Christ, therefore, became the best model of pastoral care and Counselling. (ex18:1, 2; Deut 25:5-10: Jn4; jn8:1-11; 19:1-10).

a) S. Hiltner

According to S. Hiltner, the aim of pastoral care and Counselling is the same as the aim of the church.

b) Richard Niebuhr

According to Richard Niebuhr, the central theme of OT and NT is to increase among men the love of soul and neighbors, in other words, a reconciliation to God and fellow beings. For him, love of God is reconciliation to life itself as well as loyalty to God’s creation.

c) Clinebell

According to Clinebell, Pastoral care and counseling are ways of doing theology the relationship between the practice of pastoral care and Counselling and our biblical heritage is like a two ways street. The counselor (the pastor) and his people struggle together with basic theological issue on a deep personal level. Sin and solution, alienation and reconciliation, guilt and forgiveness, judgment; and grace, spiritual death and rebirth, despair and hope interwoven in the fabric of healing; gathering interaction between pastor and his people.


Functions of Pastoral Care

Hiltner specified the important function of pastoral care, healing, sustaining and guiding in the 1950s. Again in the 1960s the two church historians William. A. Clebsch and Charles R. Jaekle added reconciling as another cardinal function of pastoral care. In the 1980s Howard Clinebell added ‘nurturing’ as another vital function of pastoral care. These five cardinal tasks of pastoral care revolve around the four traditional functions of the church: Teaching, Preaching, fellowship, and service.

a) Healing

Pastors are called to be enabled of spiritual wholeness throughout the life cycle. Here the pastoral task is healing arrives to overcome source impairment by restoring the person to wholeness and by leading him to advice beyond his previous condition. Here healing means wholeness both in physical and spiritual, social attitude and relationship. It is a process of restoring functional wholeness that has impaired direction and schedule.

b) Sustaining

Help and support given at the time of sickness, grief, sorrow, fear, and loveliness, is an important pastoral task. It is a situation like change might not take place easily. But one’s stand-by and make sustenance available is very important. Those in use sustained, strengthened, comforted, and encouraged to find resources in God, in others, and in themselves too.

C) Guiding

Helping or assisting a perplexed person to make confident choices between alternative courses of thought and action; whereas such choices view as affecting the present and future state of the soul. It is an educative guiding. In other word, guiding means helping people to grow in their moral and spiritual; and understanding to apply this understanding to different aspects of their lives.

d) Reconciling

It is the task of re-establishing a broken relationship with self, others, and God. This is usually caused by guilty feelings, depression, shame, and hatred. This broken relationship can heal by making reconcile through the discipline of acceptance and forgiveness. So, the caregiver can play a vital role to restore a right relationship with God, others and own self.

e) Nurturing

The aim of this nurturing is to enable people to develop their God-given potentialities; throughout their life journey with all its valleys peaks, and plateaus. It is ‘educational counseling and cares through developmental counseling. The caregiver seeks to empower growth toward wholeness in every aspect of a person’s life. E.g. Good Samaritan.