There are lots of different understandings of what pastoral care and discipleship should look like within a local church. This is an attempt to define this for Hope Church. Our preferred term is well-being (shalom).
Aim :- To create a community that will enable church members and those we are serving, to grow and thrive in experiencing well-being and wholeness in Christ (shalom)
Primarily the context where this happens is within our Community Areas.
It falls within our overall vision to be –
A growing community of people – from different backgrounds, stages of life and experiences, including the vulnerable – who are one family in Christ Jesus.
The concept of well-being encompasses the physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health. This concept is recognised by the World Health Organisation.
We need all 4 walls of well-being within our community; physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual in a healthy balance.
We have many biblical examples for this e.g.
Jesus helped people by looking at the whole person addressing physical healing but also spiritual issues and social consequences. In Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 lepers (physical) He sent them to the priest (social) so they would be accepted back into society and He told the thankful leper who returned, his faith had made him well (spiritual) but it also affected him emotionally as he was praising God. Jesus spoke about His followers loving each other well, forgiving well taking care of each other serving each other.
The early Christian church grew because the Christians took care of each other and others around them especially during times of plague.
As a community of Christian believers, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate God’s kingdom by developing community area groups that help us all to grow and thrive as whole people, in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Each part impacts the other, so our communities need this rounded approach not just an emphasis on one wall.
We live in a world of broken lives broken relationships, loneliness and isolation, as people come into loving, caring supportive communities just like the early Christians we will show a different way, the way of Christ.
In a “small village/Church” setting people can be known so that when life traumas happen everyone can help and support. When it comes to overcoming life controlling issues like for instance alcoholism, it is recognised that if you have even 1 sober friend you are 30% more likely to succeed in changing behaviour. Add to that prayer, physical activity, someone to talk to, and the person has a much greater chance to walk free.
Written by Theresa Middleton