On Illness and Pastoral Care

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : January 6, 2005

Still sick with the flu.  Going to classes today has been a challenge. I feel achy and tired and coughy. 

I got an email from a family that is leaving Missio Dei.  I know that we’re a new church and that we should expect to lose people, but it is hard.  Especially when I feel in my gut that it could have been prevented.

I am of the opinion that every house church should have the flavors of the "five fold" ministries–you know that list of equipping ministries found in Ephesians 4: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (or pastor/teachers, as some would argue)?  Now the nature of these roles and the value for today are often disputed.  And it isn’t my desire to argue about them now.  I think that a house church (or any church of any sort for that matter), should be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and didactic. 

The unfortunate thing with Missio Dei is that we are lacking most in that "flavor" that serves as a "glue" to the other four "flavors": the pastoral flavor.  We have pastoral people–my wife is a perfect example of someone, but we lack real pastoral leadership.  Of all of the four flavors, my weakest area is pastoral care.  I can do pastoral care–if someone comes to me–but I lack the giftedness to reach out and embrace people.  And I am afraid that Missio Dei lacks the capacity to cultivate the sort of loving community we long for.  This will be a big area of prayer for me in the next season.  I will be praying that God will bring pastoral people who can help Missio Dei grow in its pastoral flavors. 

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2 Responses to “On Illness and Pastoral Care”

  1. jeremy on January 11th, 2005 1:45 pm

    Sorry to here about the family who is moving on. I know that must sting in such a small community.

    Regarding the lack of pastoral “flavor” in your body: remember your own emphasis on a solid pneumatology. Whatever you lack can only be provided by the Spirit. And what we lack reminds us to depend on the Spirit. Pastoring is, of course, a spiritual gift.

    I will pray for you as well.

  2. Van S on January 11th, 2005 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Jeremy. It is up to the Spirit to form our community. Thanks for praying.

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