Using the Disciplines to Care

Giving proper pastoral care to people means helping them become independent in faith in a healthy way.
—Paul Anderson

Our youngest child had his first birthday a week after our oldest turned 14. Naturally, our expectations for young Israel differ from those we have for adolescent Andrew. Andrew has moved from total dependence to relative independence. Since he has shown he handles freedom well, he is on his own a fair amount of the time.

Likewise in the church, we have newborn Christians, who are dependent upon the spiritual parents in the church, and mature Christians, who don't require as much regular pastoral direction.

Not that people ever get to the point where they don't need the personal attention of pastor and church. I know of one Texas pastor who didn't believe his people needed to be visited in the hospital or counseled in times of crisis. All they required was doctrine, he thought, and that alone would enable them to function on their own. That approach fosters an unhealthy independence ...

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