Pastoral Care

The ministry of pastoral care is a compassionate presence in imitation of Jesus’ care of people, especially those who are hurting and in need. The ministry of pastoral care involves promoting positive adolescent and family development through a variety of positive (preventive) strategies; caring for adolescents and families in crisis through support, counseling, and referral to appropriate community agencies; providing guidance as young people face life decisions and make moral choices; and challenging systems that are obstacles to positive development (advocacy). Pastoral care is most fundamentally a relationship – a ministry of compassionate presence. Pastoral care enables healing and growth to take place within individuals and their relationships.

In youth ministry the component of pastoral care is an invitation to return to pasturing, to that ongoing process of caring deeply for young people, confronting them honestly when necessary, meeting young people where they are, and showing them the rich possibilities of human wholeness.  Pastoral care is an invitation to conversion in a holistic sense.

Pastoral care is also a ministry of compassionate and intrusive presence.  We are challenged to surround young people with the best possible adult support systems; to connect young people with a web of family, youth ministers, teachers, and significant adults; and to be a compassionate presence in their lives.

Questions for Reflection

1)  What intentional approaches exist for developing social, personal, and life skills in young people?

2)  What intentional activities and strategies exist to support and strengthen the families of young people?

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