What is Pastoral Care?

What do the words ‘Pastoral Care’ mean to you?

Perhaps the term conjures up images of a counselling session? Or perhaps of a shepherd in a field? Maybe you think ‘pastoral care’ is something that ‘the Minister does’, or perhaps the term may seem old-fashioned.

At its heart, Pastoral Care is simply the love that members of the Christian community (the Church) show to one another.  It may be formal (as in pastoral counselling, or visits by the minister) or informal (through friendships and fellowship). At its heart however, pastoral care is always modelled on the life of Jesus Christ, and the love he showed to both friends and strangers. As such, pastoral care is not just for the good of the Church, but for the whole world. Yet, it can never be completely separate from the Christian community either.

As Pastoral Care is a very hard term to define, there are a number of images which may be helpful. These include:

  • The shepherd: provides rest, comfort, restoration, protection, nurture and guidance for the flock.
  • The wounder healer: the wounds of our life help us gain wisdom and offer understanding for the pain of others.
  • The horse-tram: Like a second horse, ready to help with an extra load.
  • The host and guest: Hospitality – A friendly space to find and maintain our own centre and offer that freedom to others; welcoming strangers into our group.
  • The bridge builder: A good communicator or mediator, safely spanning life’s problems and bringing people together.
  • The companion: The person with whom we share the necessities of life

(Taken from Pastoral Partner Program, Mediacom (1998), pp. 21-31).


How to use this resource?

Throughout May, we will be exploring the theme of pastoral care through our worship. For those who would like to explore the practice of Pastoral Care even deeper, there are links to resources below for weekly private devotions. Further, Daniel will be running a series of workshops over the next few months, for those who want to further their skills in pastoral care.





7 May: It takes a community

Acts 2:42-47; John 10:1-11

  • 9am: Wesley Uniting Church, Crookwell
  • 2:30pm: Wheeo Uniting Church


14 May: For the good of the world

1 Peter 2:1-10; John 14:1-14

  • 9am: Wesley Uniting Church, Crookwell (Communion)
  • 2:30pm: Jerrara Uniting Church


21 May: Being there – companions for the journey

John 14:15-21

  • 9am: Wesley Uniting Church, Crookwell
  • Outdoor Adventure Church (time TBA)


28 May: Praying for other pilgrims

Acts 1:6-14; John 17:1-11

  • 9am: Wesley Uniting Church, Crookwell
  • 2:30pm: Bigga Uniting Church


 Weekly Resources

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Workshop 1: First Principles & the Art of Pastoral Care

Saturday 20 May, 9-12:30, Wesley Uniting Church


Workshop 2: Intro to Pastoral Partners & Being there for others

Date TBA