- Who we are
- What we do
Last week, when I wrote about starting a pastoral care team, what activity came to mind? Some of us might think of a hot drink and a chat, perhaps some prayer for what is needed.
But does your mind go to God’s word for pastoral care?
Pastoral care comes from the imagery of a shepherd looking after sheep. In 1 Peter 5:1-3 Peter tells church elders to shepherd the flock, the people of the church under their care. This involves exercising oversight, working willingly and eagerly, not for personal gain or by domineering, but by being an example. In 1 Timothy 3:2, Paul would also add the task of teaching.
Whilst our pastoral care team does not exercise church oversight or some of the other functions, the ways and means of the work is much the same: eagerly, willingly, caring for people, not domineering, but by being an example. However, the Bible and prayer play a role too. Listening and sharing are important, and healing and praying calls upon the resources only God can give to any situation, but what greater encouragement and hope can be gained than by reading God’s word!
This week I read Psalm 18 with the Monday women’s group. We were strengthened by David’s reminder of who God is in verses 1-3:
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
Following on from this, David tells of his deliverance from death and God’s saving power in Israel’s history. As we read along, we were all encouraged. This is but one example.
The whole Bible can be counted upon for all our ministries. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we know how the Bible is sufficient for producing thoroughly equipped disciples – ‘teaching, rebuking, correcting and training.’ Interestingly, in the next chapter, Paul adds one extra – ‘encouraging.’ Who can you pastorally care for and encourage with the Bible this week?
– Sam Pursell
As a church, we learn from 1 Corinthians 12-14 that the Holy Spirit gives the members of Oak Flats Anglican gifts for the common good. These gifts are is to be used with self-giving love, so that the church is built up.
One important task in the church is that of pastoral care. In this area, as with all others, God has equipped a number of people for the job.
A strength of our church is the high percentage of people in in Bible study groups. In these, consistent pastoral care happens, where week-by-week people share fellowship in Christ, read the Bible, pray for one another and on occasion meet practical requests.
But outside of this there are a number of others unable to make a Bible study who would benefit from this too. Personally, I meet with some, but I cannot meet with all consistently enough. But I do want to see that this happens, so I’ve invited others to have regular contact with people outside of Bible study groups.
I am pleased to say that many of you have already been doing this, and a number have expressed a desire to ‘fill in the gaps’ and coordinate how we do this overall. Thank you! We have met and begun to plan what we will do.
This team will be led by Rhonda Slocombe, and they will work at keeping in touch with those outside of Bible studies, by regular phone call or visit. But if something out of the ordinary comes up other church members can also be in contact.
I will still call, visit and speak to people across the church. But I plan and pray that within the whole body of the church we all grow in loving and serving one another.
– SAM PURSELL