In this fast-paced life we are living, with packed church calendars and overstressed people, pastors often question how they can help their church members personally and truthfully experience the love of God. They realize that many of their people feel overlooked and neglected because they cannot reach all their people as adequately as they desire on their own. Added to this frustration is the fact that in most cases, churches cannot afford to employ enough staff to sufficiently take care of all their members on a regular basis. Without a practical resolve, more and more people will fall through the cracks and wander away from the church for lack of attention. This, understandably, causes pastors to live in angst and because of the nature of their calling, search for a solution to this ever-growing challenge. There must be an answer to this crying need. And, thank God, there is! It’s equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry.
The proven solution is found in a system of care that is equipping the saints to care for one another in a prescribed way in partnership with their pastor and under the leadership of an appointed director. All people need attention or support at some point in time. When that is not received from their church family, they tend to feel slighted and rejected. This responsibility inevitably becomes overwhelming, especially when a church begins to grow. That’s why we must turn to the Biblical solution that lies within equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.
We cannot and should not release people into the ministry role of caring for others without first adequately preparing and training them for this important task. According to Ephesians 4:11-13, pastors, as part of the Five-fold ministry, are responsible for equipping their people (“equipping the saints “) for the work of the ministry, which includes caring for one another.
Our motive for involving church members in care ministry is not so pastors can hand off the so-called “boring” work to them as they continue with the supposed “real work of ministry”. It’s a partnership that we have in mind — doing ministry together. We hold that all who are Christ’s should be involved in ministry and that every believer is, therefore, a minister. We want to reverse the accepted notion that members help the pastor in ministry, to the reality of the pastor being the one that helps the people to discover, develop, and deploy their gifts.
The care ministry concept we have developed is not designed to only provide care to people when they face a crisis of some sorts, but to provide care when they are not facing hardship. Our dictate is to develop meaningful relationships and build a healthy community among the congregants in the good times as well as the hard times. It’s the relationship we build when there are no difficulties that earns us the right to be trusted during the tough times.
People are important to God. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and make it possible for sinful man to be reconciled to holy God and become part of His glorious family. If people are that important to God, then it only stands to reason that we should give priority to caring for them in the most effective ways. 1 John 4:11 says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (NIV).
We Have an Obligation
After people have been born again and become part of the body of Christ, it becomes the local church’s responsibility to disciple, nurture, and care for them. It is absurd to think we can leave people on their own and expect them to grow spiritually and experience the love of God if we are not there to provide the support they need. People can only grow spiritually when they are connected relationally. After people have experienced the love of God, they should then experience the Christ-like love of people. It’s the only route to survival.
This excerpt is from Dr. John Bosman’s book, Care Revolution: Directions for Implementing an Effective Care Ministry.