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Lesson 2: The Parameters of Pastoral Care

Ministry covers a huge spectrum.
Education, evangelism, missions, music, social work, youth activities, chaplaincy,
and a variety of other specialties come under the heading of ministry.
Each of these can and should be involved in pastoral care. The task is overwhelming!

The pastor leads people in worship, education, and ministry.
We are a shepherd, a preacher, a teacher, a counselor, a cheerleader, a soul-winner,
a judge, and church builder. Our understanding of the Bible, our background,
our experience, our training, and our people skills will determine our pastoral care style.

There has been a critical loss of identity among clergy during the last 20 years.
We are asked to bless football games but not hockey games. Our visits to new comers
take on the appearance of the welcome wagon. We have become "chaplain"
to scout troops, fire stations, and veteran's groups.

I recently read this scripture after a Rabbi prayed at a luncheon sponsored by
the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department.

Marriage is one of our most beautiful sacraments.
However, in reality, the photographer has more control than we do.

A major cause of "burnout" in ministry is the blurring of pastoral identity.
We are confused over the true parameters of pastoral care.

The Christian minister has been called by many names and titles.
Each title reveals expectations of the community of faith.
Parson emphasizes the idea of the minister as embodying the soul of the community
before God in prayer.
Elder points to the need for maturity and experience in guiding the church.
A Curate is one who has a "cure".
Preacher is basically an American term that stresses the public declaration
and evangelistic nature of the position.
Priest places sacramental acts at the center of the ministry.
Minister suggests that service is crucial to the work.
Evangelist stresses the itinerant proclamation of the Gospel.
Clergy emphasizes the administrative skills and learning that are expected.
Reverend is a title of respect and honor that calls for high morals
Chaplain is one who conducts services in public setting.

Discussion Question:
Discuss in what role the student sees himself/herself as minister.
Do you agree or disagree that ministers have lost their identity.

called to vocational ministry are also claiming to speak for God. We have made full circle.
That God calls is breathtaking.

Discussion Questions:
Discuss individual call to ministry?
How do you know you are called to vocational ministry?
How is that calling different from a general call to minister?

The Shepherd as Pastoral Minister

"Be shepherds of the church of God." Acts 20:28

The third time Jesus said to Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?'
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time; 'Do you love me?'
He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.'

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.
Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with His own blood.

Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—eager to serve,
not Lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

So the pastor is a member of the body of Christ who is called by God and the church and set
apart by ordination, in order to proclaim the Gospel, administer the sacraments, and to guide and
nurture the Christian community toward full response to God's self-disclosure.

The shepherding analogy has been used since biblical times as a means of defining
pastoral ministry.
John 10:1-10 is a prime example:

The shepherd has an intimate knowledge of the flock. He holds them in his arms.
The shepherd calls each one by its own name.
He is fully authorized to enter the pen by the gate.
The flock can distinguish the shepherd's voice from all other voices.

The shepherd leads the sheep to protected areas. He feeds them and protects them.
The shepherd is characteristically out ahead of the flock. He not only guides them but
also is looking out for their welfare.
The sheep trust the shepherd.

The shepherd, unlike the hired worker who has little invested in the sheep, will not run away
when danger approaches.