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Basic Concepts that Apply to All Pastoral Care Teams
According to the model we have developed, there are several concepts
that are basic to Pastoral Care Teams regardless of the size of the
church or the background of the members of the Pastoral Care Team.
Our model is based on a team concept, meaning team
supervision, team support and problem solving. The team meets twice a
month to go over all the work being done and to discuss each new person
being helped. Team members exchange ideas as to how to help the person
in need and how to support each other. When the problems are complex or
time consuming two-three team members work together.
Pastoral Care Teams we believe, should start with a
Mission Statement. The Mission Statement defines what the team promises
to do and its relationship with the church. The goals of the Pastoral
Care Team should be based on several items: the size of the Pastoral
care team in relation to the size of the church, the professional
background or training of the members of the team, and the needs of the
congregation. If the team has no one who is professionally trained in
the mental health or counseling area, the Team should not take on the
responsibility of helping people who have emotional problems or family
crises. Someone trained on the Team or the minister needs to handle
emotional problems or ones that require mental health judgment. Our
Team triage is done by someone with mental health training. so that
people who need emotional support are assigned only to those members of
the Team who have a background in this area. We do not do counseling,
therapy, or give advice. We occasionally refer to individual or group
Based on the following criteria church or Team size,
background and time availability of Team member, church needs, also
other programs in the church that can support the work of the Team (as
Neighborhoods), we suggest that you select a few programs to begin.
Included are ten programs we have set up: choose what best suits your
needs. Start small and add to them later. If you have a team in a small
church with no minister, send cards for birthdays anniversaries,
illness, births, and deaths. Or you can also deliver meals at the time
of illness, birth, or death. Just doing a few programs well and
consistently will change the attitude of your church community. If you
have a church with a large community of older people you might want to
visit people in the hospital or nursing home. Also a Medical Equipment
Loan Program might be appropriate . In a church with a young
population, respite care and meals for new mother, might be most
helpful River Road is a large urban church with a wide age range of
membership so we try to provide comprehensive services for all ages. In
our church, the Neighborhoods provide meals and transportation for
members who live geographically close to one another while the Pastoral
Care Team acts as a coordinator of services and case managers.
We believe that what we do is a ministry. We begin our
meetings with a spiritual opening and conclude our meeting with a
spiritual closing. We have our own Joys and Concerns at each meeting.
We help each other during time of illness or life transition. Names of
new People in Need of Service (PINS) are given out at the meetings.
Whichever Team member will minister to the new PIN is determined by:
how busy that Team member might be, his familiarity with the person
needing help (PIN), or the person needing special expertise from a
specific team member. The administrative work is done in executive
committee which is made up of the coordinator and two co-coordinators.
It is important to devise an administrative model or structure that can
be bequeathed to succeeding team leaders.
In order to build trust and respect of the Team by the
congregation, strict confidentiality must be maintained. People who
receive help need to feet secure that the only people who know about
their problem are the minister and members of the Pastoral Cart-, Team.
The Team must get permission from those whom they are helping to go to
the neighborhoods or other members of the church to get assistance with
meals, transportation, babysitting, etc. or to put announcements in the