HopeWell Heights Counseling has begun a Pastors’ Lunch and Learn. On January 29th fifteen pastors and counseling staff gathered for lunch at the HopeWell Heights office conference room. Pastors came from churches in Jeffersontown and Middletown. There was food from Jason’s Deli and time for connecting with each other.
The topic was Pastoral Care, specifically how to do it right or wrong! The starting point for discussion was an article by Carey Nieuwhof claiming that pastoral care stunts the growth of most churches. I (Jay Close) led the group in discussion of this idea and opposing opinions. Some other writers believe that care for the congregation is a main calling of the shepherd, or pastor.
The pastors present discussed their struggles with care through small groups or small churches. One noted the death of a member just this past Sunday that rocked the church. Another pastor noted that group leaders can sacrifice and harm their own health and their family by meeting the demands of others.
It was agreed that this is a challenging subject and no easy answers cover all the concerns. Moving the pastor out of the loop and giving it all to groups is an inadequate answer, but so is dumping all expectations for care of everyone onto the pastor.
This was the first of what we hope will be many more Pastors’ Lunches offering a gift of networking and mutual support, and useful information as well. Plan to join us if you are a pastor or tell your pastor about it to encourage they come!
Jay Close, LMFT