If pastoral care is defined as: “The ministry of oversight and nurture offered by a religious community to its members, including acts of discipline, support, comfort, and celebration” (Gerkin, 1997:126);
1.1 Name the four (4) functions of pastoral care.
Guiding, Healing, Reconciliation and Sustaining
1.2 In 400 words, describe each of the functions of pastoral care.
i. Guiding: “Pastoral guiding is the help given to people to enable them to make their own choices and decisions based on their deepest convictions. In this way, they will grow so that they can function independently in their spiritual lives” (Unisa 1991:126). Rice (1998, p. 78) argues that, this function of pastoral care “has become that of helping each person see the strengths within himself or herself and to move toward discovery of inner resources”. Meaning that guiding is to assist people to make confident choices between different ways of thought and action, when such choices are viewed as affecting the present and the future state of human wholeness. “Pastors who can guide people should be dependable people; people of integrity, who know how to listen and allow others scope to grow and make their own decisions” (Unisa 1991:127).
ii. Healing: The healing function of pastoral work denotes the possible positive results which pastoral actions can have on the health and well-being of people in the broadest sense. This kind of healing is associated with the eschatological implications of Christ’s regenerative action through the Holy Spirit. The healing function of pastoral work should be based on the example of Jesus. From the gospels we discover that Christ’s work on earth consisted of preaching, teaching and healing. Healing therefore aims to overcome some weakness by restoring the person to wholeness. This concept of wholeness “is not merely the restoration of former conditions, but an integration on a higher spiritual level than the person had known before”. (Unisa 1991:121).
iii. Reconciliation: Reconciliation means the restoration of people who are alienated from themselves, each other, God and nature, so as to enable them to accept themselves, experience forgiveness and learn to live in new relationships. In a broad sense, reconciliation is the affirmation of harmony in the human world, its destinations and persons. The reconciling function entails repairing broken relationships with God and with other people (Clebsch & Jaekle in Unisa, 1991:128). Therefore the former brings to my understanding that, reconciliation seek to re-establish broken relationships between man and fellow man and between man and God. Lochman (1977, p. 88), argues that “this work of reconciliation is wholly God’s idea”. Therefore I believe that, God is the sole subject of reconciliation and in no sense its object. Some of the biblical meanings of reconciliation tells us that, reconciliation between God and humanity happens through Christ. Roberts argues that (1971, p. 80) “Christ liberates, but Christ also reconcile us to God and to each other”. Reconciliation between God and humanity happens through Christ. In verses such as 2 Corinthians (5:18) says “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” Redemption calls for divine action; we cannot save or reconcile ourselves. Reconciliation demands another.
iv. Sustaining: The pastoral function of sustaining involves “initiating and maintaining a relationship with distressed and suffering people, possibly causing them to feel comforted and supported on their difficult way through life” (Unisa, 1991:124). Meaning that, sustaining is helping a hurting person to sustain and to surpass a circumstance in which restoration to their former condition or improvement from their suffering is either impossible or so remote as to seem improbable.
1.3 Name the five (5) models of pastoral care.
(a) The Pastor as Priest, Prophet and Wise Guide
(b) The Pastor as the Shepherd
(c) The Pastor as the Mediator and the Reconciler
(d) The Pastor as the Ritualistic leader
(e) The Pastor as the Educator
1.4 In 500 words, describe each of the models of pastoral.
a) The Pastor as Priest, Prophet and Wise Guide: The verse that I found close to a definition of the priest in the Scriptures is probably Hebrews 5:1 “Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins”. A priest, in effect, is a mediator who stands between God and man. He/she offers sacrifice to God on behalf of man and administers other worship obligations that people feel unworthy to offer personally. Prophetic role is to be the voice of caution against degrading morals and values. News 24 records that “Archbishop Thabo Makgoba delivered a powerful sermon calling on congregants to resolve never again to allow government and leaders to talk us down, to let us down or to keep us down” (Anon., 2018). This for me was the prophetic role of the pastor, which was displayed by the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. Therefore I concur with Gerkin’s (1997, p. 80) argument that, “Likewise, the exercise of prophetic imagination in the day-to-day work of pastoral care takes on greater importance in a time such as ours, when we are becoming more aware of the suffering all around us brought about by oppressive societal structure and practice”.
b) The Pastor as the Shepherd: This is a biblical rooted model of pastoral care. In the OT, God is the shepherd that leads God’s people where God wants them to go. Most famous description of this is Psalm 23, where the Psalmist describe God as the shepherd who leads, guides, feeds, comforts and protects His flock. Also in John chapter 21:15-17, Jesus speaking to Peter, Jesus uses the language of the shepherd. Gerkin (1997, p. 80) argues that “More than any other image, we need to have written on our hearts the image most clearly and powerfully given to us by Jesus, of the pastor as the shepherd of the flock”. Moyo (2015, p. 5) agrues that, “The shepherd’s pastoral ministry is an act of God carried out by ambassadorial representatives of the will of God on earth”. Pastoral carers are called upon to embrace the shepherding model in their pastoral work.
c) The Pastor as Mediator and Reconciler: Poirier (2006, pp. 184-185) argues that “Mediation is about being a mediator, and the gospel itself is the grand metanarrative of the God-man Mediator and his redemptive mediation”. Therefore whatever mediation work the pastor does, it done in and through Jesus our Mediator. In the New Testament, no one is a better model of this role than the apostle Paul. In Christ is where pastors stand to mediate, to help people in conflict. Gerkin (1997, p. 94) argues that, “To read Pauline letters is to listen in on long conversations between the great missionary apostle and the diverse people who made up the congregations he visited. These conversations sought to reconcile people to one another, to the gospel as St. Paul had received it, and most of all, to Christ, the head of the church. While this role of mediating and reconciling has taken different shapes and sizes over the centuries, it is still vitally important for the present-day pastoral carer. Our methods of reconciliation today must follow the manner of active listening, invitation to consider and then clarify the commitments that people make as they live their lives”.
d) The Pastor as Ritualistic Leader: What do we desire to take with us from our ancestors of the middle ages? Probably not their tight-fisted control of the keys to salvation: the right to administer indulgencies or the giving and withholding of the sacraments. Those devices for the exercise of pastoral care authority are no longer available or appropriate for pastoral work in our time. Yet there is something of the sacramental, liturgical, ritualistic expression of care by the community of Christian believers to be learned from the church of the middle ages. Liturgical tradition can be preserved only through careful administration by pastoral leaders who carefully tend the connections between liturgical practice and life experiences. Important as it is, not all care can be expressed through the medium of conversation. Some care can only be given the power of deep connection with communal meanings by way of corporate participation in the symbolic acts of receiving bread and wine, the laying on of hands and the administration of the water of baptism. Singing together can itself express care and acknowledgement of our need for care (Gerkin, 1997, p. 94). Like the Holy Communion it reminds us of where we come from and prepares us for where we are going. For me this model reminds me of my culture as a Xhosa men, in my culture rituals are done by elders of my tribe, actually by inkulu yekhaya, rituals like imbeleko meaning an introduction of a child to the ancestors.
e) The Pastor as Educator: There is a need for pastoral carers to rediscover their role as educators in their communities. Gerkin has made the following observations in this regard. “At each step along the way of the history of pastoral ministry, priests and pastors were formally and informally teaching the people about what it means to care – for the tradition of faith, for the community of believers, for individuals and families, and for sociocultural milieu of the believing community” (1997:94). Biblically pastor as educator is clearly demonstrated in Paul’s letters, a large part of them is devoted to building relationships, Paul is not just concerned about teaching doctrine, he also teaches the believers how to relate to each other (Gerkin, 1997, p. 94).
How can pastors fulfil their educating role within the life of their community?
First, by teaching their people life-giving ways in which they can view their world and respond to the challenges they face in their day-to-day existence. Such teaching should aim at empowering people with tools, skills and competencies that will help them cope better with these challenges (Sifo, 2018, p. 2).
Second, through preaching that builds up God’s people for life in Christ. That kind of preaching would need to affirm people’s worth in the face of God and each other. It would need to challenge the negative and life-diminishing aspects of our existence (Sifo, 2018, pp. 2-3).
Third, through intentional and well-applied programs that give support and motivation to healthy individual and family life. Such programs would include but not limited to, marriage and parenting seminars, children, teenage and young adult workshops, leadership empowerment and guidance seminars and so forth. The genius of these activities is that they would bring the meaning and the values of the Christian tradition into productive dialogue with contemporary culture (Sifo, 2018, pp. 2-3).
1.5 Name the six (6) intended goals of pastoral care.
1. Pastoral care and morality
2. Pastoral care and spiritual life
3. Pastoral care and listening to God’s people
4. Pastoral care for those in special need
5. Pastoral concern for persons and social situations
6. Pastoral care and the congregation
In his book, “An introduction to pastoral care,” Charles Gerkin (1997) relates a story of when he arrived in a new congregation and discovered the multidimensional nature of pastoral care. Read this story in chapter 5 and answer the following questions:
2.1 Name the four (4) dimensions of pastoral care.
1. Content and Quality.
2. Complex set of relationships.
3. Story of life and ministry that has been going on for a long time before our arrival.
4. Clearly understood theology of the church and of ministry.
2.2 In 400 words, discuss each of the dimensions of pastoral care.
I. Content and Quality: Gerkin (1997, p. 119) argues that, “This dimension seeks to answer the question: “Who will you be to and for us?” The ways in which that question will be asked will no doubt vary tremendously from one parish to another”. Rev. Sifo (2018, p. 4) in his lecture notes, notes that, “The significance of this question, who will you be to and for us, is that it seeks to hear about the kind of leadership the pastor will offer”. Gerkin (1997, p. 119) argues that, “Pastoral care in the parish begins with pastoral leadership. Setting the tone for that leadership will strongly affect every aspect of subsequent pastoral relationships”. This teaches us that it is important what you bring to the parish or congregation as the pastor, meaning that you need to be yourself not copy of the previous pastor or what the congregants wants you to be.
II. Complex set of Relationships: Gerkin (1997, p. 119) argues that, “pastoral care in the parish is comprised of a complex set of relationships between the pastor and the congregation. These relationships take the form of multiple levels ranging from the congregation as a whole, to groups within the congregation, to families and individuals within the congregation”. Sifo (2018, p. 4) in his lecture notes argues that, “A good pastoral carer will ensure that life-giving relationships are nurtured at all these levels. In the story above, the question about the program for the church and the expectation of the mother who called the pastor speak volumes regarding this matter”. The story is also presenting to us, that integrity is important to building relationships, and it is the foundation upon which many other qualities for faithful relationships are built, such as respect, dignity and trust.
III. Story of life and ministry that has been going on before their arrival: Gerkin (1997, p. 120) argues that, “when pastors enter into ministry in a particular place, they become part of a story of life and ministry that has been going on long before their arrival”. Sifo (2018, pp. 4-5) notes that, “In the story above, the previous pastor used to transport the young people to the Youth Summer Institute. It is possible as well that previous pastors used to draw up a program for the church. This gives clear evidence to the fact that pastors who arrive into a congregation always come into the middle of the stories of a congregation and its individual members. In a certain sense, the new pastor’s arrival on the scene comes as an interruption or an intrusion into whatever stories are being enacted in that place. Given that reality, one of the first requirements of successful pastoral care in a given place of ministry involves patient, curious, and respectful listening to the history of the place as related by different people. Some stories will be told by leaders and some by people who are much further from the centre of the congregation’s life. Friendly and respectful curiosity concerning these stories will do much to set a tone of care for the ensuing pastoral relationships” (Sifo, 2018, pp. 4-5). This is teaching pastors to acknowledge the story of the people where they are pastoring.
IV. Clearly understood and articulated theology of the church and of ministry: Gerkin (1997, p. 120) argues that, “the response of the pastor to requests, questions and concerns from the congregation should be founded on a clearly understood and articulated theology of the church and of ministry. Such a theology can provide a critical check both on the validity of requests made to the pastor and on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of a given pastoral response”. Gerkin (1997, p. 120) also argues that, “This response implies several things, it expresses a theology of the church that nonauthoritarian, egalitarian, and democratic in its style of governance. This theology values the corporate nature of the church and it expresses a desire on the part of the pastor to avoid the pitfalls of clericalism that have repeatedly brought trouble to the church in the past. It expresses a valuing of a dialogical approach to determining congregational decisions and actions”.
3.1 In reference to Taylor (1983), explain what “defence mechanisms” are.
Taylor argues that “People develop ways of thinking and acting which can prevent them from facing up to difficult situations. These are called defences or defence mechanism, because they protect or defend us from thoughts that upset our sense of security or belonging or our self-esteem”.
3.2 Name the seven (7) defence mechanisms identified by Taylor (1983).
1. Defence of Avoidance
2. Defence of Projection
3. Defence of Withdrawal
4. Defence of Self-Justification
5. Defence of Regression
6. Defence of Rationalization
7. Defence of Lying
3.3 In 100 words, discuss any two (2) of the defence mechanisms mentioned above.
Defence of Projection: Taylor argues that, “A common way of protecting ourselves from blame for a wrong action is to blame someone else, and make excuses for ourselves. We project or throw blame on to others”. Taylor argues that, “in Genesis 3:12, Adam used the defence of projection, Adam was unwilling to accept the blame, so he projected the blame on eve instead”. Consider for example, that you have an irrationally angry reaction to a situation in front of someone you like and want to respect you, then to try to justify your behavior, you blame someone else for provoking you.
Defence of Rationalization: Taylor argues that, “This is when we give misleading arguments and reason to support something we wish to do, or perhaps to escape from action we ought to do but do not wish to”. At times we use rationalization when we try to explain our bad behavior away.
3.2 Name the four (4) internal variables that influence people’s understanding of themselves.
3. Defence Mechanism
3.3 Name the three (3) external variables that influence people’s understanding of themselves.
1. Culture and Tradition
2. Individual Circumstances
3. People around us
4.1 In 250 words, use the “Johari Window” as a basis for conducting a SWOT analysis of yourself as a pastoral caregiver. SWOT stands for: Weaknesses, Strengths, Opportunities & Threats.