Overview of Pastoral Care
( A ministry of our personal human presence
( A visible reminder of the unseen presence of God
Genuine, personal, ministry to a variety of people, taking into consideration multiple elements of cultural and ethnic diversity, social, spiritual, emotional, and physical conditions; justice issues; and without imposing one’s own perspective.
Emotional availability, appropriate self-disclosure, positive use of power, a non-anxious and non-judgmental presence, and clear and responsible boundaries. C.
A range of learned pastoral skills, including listening/attending, empathetic reflection, conflict resolution/confrontation, crisis management, and appropriate use of religious/spiritual resources.
Repeatedly moving toward persons with a pastoral initiative of caring; and by participating physically, emotionally and spiritually with them in whatever setting one may find them.
The Concept of Presence
( Presence is a learned and practiced method of caring, based on a humble
availability to be used by the Holy Spirit, to help meet the perceived needs of
What is required of the pastoral care giver:
Authenticity – be yourself.
Being motivated, a self-starter.
Understanding the act of caring to be a deeply important task.
Delaying personal gratification and anticipating the satisfaction of a job well done.
Realistic practical attitudes like not trying to please everyone.
A genuine love for people in all their pluralistic perspectives.
Identifying our own anxieties rather than being blocked, immobilized or paralyzed by them.
Being sensitive to people, their feelings, hopes, needs and negative emotions.
Bringing our presence into their agenda rather than bringing our agenda into their presence.
Levels of Presence
( Author Wayne Oates describes pastoral care as consisting of five levels of ever deepening involvement with persons. He lists these as (1) friendship, (2) comfort, (3) confession, (4) teaching, (5) counseling. This reminds us that we have more than one level of formality or informality on which to be present
with people. Yet at each level we seek to embody the good news of the grace of God whether implicitly of explicitly. ( The majority of pastoral care situations involve the movement toward people on the levels of friendship and comfort. Not every relationship will move to the deeper levels of confession, teaching, and counseling. Certainly each will begin with the single step of being present!
Presence As Participation
( Presence implies participation and consists of three categories of action.
( “Being there” has no substitute. Where is “there?” It may be the restaurant, workplace, office, nursing home, and of course the hospital. “There” is wherever the need person’s “turf” is. Being there involves
exercising an appropriate pastoral initiative which meets people in their
own territory and space. People go to the doctor because they are ill,
or to the lawyer because of legal problems; they will only deal with
spiritual concerns in the presence of someone who with inviting warmth
and disarming openness provides the safety in which they can disclose
their need. “Being there” is the first essential in order for the ministry of
pastoral care to happen.
( It means being spontaneous but not uncontrolled, being open and non-
defensive, avoiding discrepancies between personal values and...
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