How do you identify the spiritual needs of people? Do you wait until tragedy strikes and then give counsel? Do you hope that the sermon and education program will cover the bases? Do you try to keep in touch with every person through visitation?
When I started at my church seven years ago, forty people attended worship. I could visit every home at least once a month, visit shut-ins every week, and follow up visitors within the first week. Pastoral care was immediate and fulfilling.
But then things began to change. More people started attending worship, more weekday ministries were added, and a building program was begun. In short, the church came alive. Along with the excitement of growth came a growing sense of frustration. I didn't have enough time to do pastoral care the way I knew it should be done.
Since I'd once tasted the sweetness of pastoral care, the in-depth, unhurried equipping ministry of the pastorate, all the other things I did in the church seemed shallow and unsatisfying. ...1