What is Pastoral Care?

July 31st, 2008

I did my first lecture in Pastoral Care the other day. It was an interesting exercise to find a definition that really covered it. Instead of coming up with a succinct statement that encompassed it, the lecturer gave a number of definitions that painted a picture to try and give us an understanding of Pastoral Care is.

In the lecture I also found a couple of interesting things that really jumped out at me.

1. Pastoral Care is the cure and care of souls – I like that as a definition as it touches on helping people get “well” again from the storms and pains of life. It also touches on a maintenance and equipping side that helps people be better prepared for the future and helps them to be all they are in Christ. I think I will keep this definition in mind as I go about the things I do.

2. Pastoral Care changes depending on the context – The care and cure of souls varies depending on the setting. Working with patients in a cancer hospice or as a hospital chaplain is dramatically different to working as a high school chaplain or a Pastor in church. While there are some common things in both places, you would have to adjust the way they are delivered and the depth of care you can give.

It is also interesting to note that in the last week, God has brought three people across my path that have needed Pastoral Care and encouragement. It seems God is building into me with the academic side and the practical side at the same time.