12.4 Pastoral care
The accounts of Jesus' conduct allow us to understand the significance of pastoral care. Without regard for the person, He turned to sinners and allowed them to feel His love. He listened, helped, comforted, counselled, admonished, strengthened, prayed, and taught.
Jesus came for all human beings, but not all of them accept Him. His own have been entrusted to Him by the Father. He seeks to protect and preserve all those in His care and does not want to lose any of them (John 17: 12).
Jesus Christ's words and deeds are the perfect model for pastoral care. Every minister is to take example in this from the Son of God.
To this end, Jesus gives us the image of the good shepherd, who knows his own, talks to them, and leads them: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. ... My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10: 11, 27-28).
From this we derive that ministers have the task of "tending" the flock of Christ and of preparing them for the return of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. They do this "willingly" and "eagerly" (1 Peter 5: 2-4).
Beyond that, pastoral care is also the task of the entire congregation. This also relates to practical help in life. Here the words apply: "... for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matthew 25: 35-36).
The objective of pastoral care in the New Apostolic Church is to support our neighbour on the path that leads to redemption from sin and death, and into the image of Christ. The foundation for this and the ability to do this can be only found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The earnest endeavour of the believers to grow into the nature of Christ is supported by sensitive pastoral care.
According to Matthew 28: 18-20, Jesus gave His Apostles the commission to care for sinners through His merit and allow them to experience reconciliation with God. Apostle Paul stresses this aspect of the apostolic commission to care for souls: "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5: 20).
The Apostles and the ministers commissioned by them have the task of helping the believers to become prepared and worthy for the return of Christ. Until then they will accompany those entrusted to them with pastoral care on their personal path through the most diverse circumstances of life.
Jesus' words and deeds serve as examples in pastoral care. (12.4)
The objective of pastoral care is to support the believers and prepare them for the return of Christ. The ministers provide care for the souls entrusted to them in the most diverse situations of life. (12.4)
Pastoral care–which also relates to practical help in life–is a task for the entire congregation. (12.4)