Soul Care

Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness rather than always pushing to "get the job done".

- Kathleen Norris

Did you know?

Ministers are among the busiest, most stressed-out people in the world. So busy in fact, that they are often caught up in their work for God in ways that cause them to lose sight of their lives in God

They need someone to come alongside them: to join them in their journey, see where they live, understand the pressures they face and the real condition of their lives, and enjoy them anyway.

They need someone to challenge them: to notice their patterns of goodness and their patterns of sin. Someone to stimulate thought about the life choices they make each day. Someone to invite them out of their status quo.

They need someone to inspire them: to lead them to God in ways that are fresh, relevant, and enduring. Someone to remind them that though He is not safe, He is good. Only then, will desire for God burn so brightly that it consumes all else.

This is the necessary work of soul care in ministry: joining, challenging, and inspiring leaders right where they are, right now.

Never before has the world been more open to the work of God than it is today. The Gospel has penetrated many closed countries in the wake of a growing global economy.

Ministry is flourishing… but are ministry personnel?

Did you know…?

  • Every year, 5,000 Christian leaders leave the field to return home. That’s one out of 20 ministers each year.
  • Within the first five years, 47% of mission personnel leave the mission field, and 71% of those departures could have been prevented.
  • The top five causes of preventable attrition involve character and relationship issues.
  • In America, 80% of pastors feel the ministry affects their family negatively.
  • Half of American pastors feel unable to do their job.
  • At least once a month, 40% of pastors experience a serious relational conflict.

What’s happening to our Christian leaders?

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Soul care—The Heart of the Matter

In response to the overwhelming cry for help from our clergy, agencies and strategies have been formed to address the need. There is no lack of training seminars, counseling, retreat centers, books, and the like—all designed to help the leader deal with the stress inherent in their work of joining the Spirit’s formation of others.

Ironically, despite these initiatives, many organizations admit their efforts are not enough. What are we missing? What else is needed?

Is it possible we’ve addressed the symptoms rather than the root of the struggle? When we get lost in the mundane elements of ministry at the expense of our own souls, do we get more enjoyment from the result of our efforts than from the One we serve?

Discipleship is a life-long process of coming to know and love God more than anything else. Yet, this process of growing in faith must take place in community. We were never intended to walk this journey of faith alone. We need one another if we are going to mature in faith.

For centuries, the church has called this disciple-making process “the care of souls”—looking after a person as a whole, while paying particular attention to their inner life with God. Soul care is not clinical intervention or even problem solving. Rather, soul care means pouring one’s self into another to restore what has been broken by sin and nurture the life of Christ within. As ministers find wholeness in relationship with Christ, many of their daily struggles take on a totally new perspective.

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Ministry Essentials—A unique relational strategy

We want to see Christ fully formed in Christian leaders (Gal. 4:19), and so we come alongside them to foster hope and encouragement in the life-long process of being transformed into the likeness of God’s Son.

We aim to spiritually nourish Christian leaders by joining their journey of faith, challenging their assumptions about God, and inspiring a fuller experience of Him.

How do we do this? Our approach involves the following:

  • Locating near the leader
  • Providing hospitality
  • Cultivating mentoring relationships
  • Offering spiritual friendship

Ministry Essentials’ unique strategy places personnel in the Christian worker’s back yard. We focus on international regions with a high concentration of missionaries and pastors. We use our homes to step out of the counseling office and into a leader’s life. In doing so, we can better invest in the ongoing mentoring needs of an individual for long-term effectiveness. We believe spiritual friendship is the backbone of any people care initiative.

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What is the result?

Ministers are:

  • More alive to God
  • Strengthened in their relationships
  • Renewed in their vision
  • Restored to greater vitality and stamina in their ministry
  • More compassionate
  • Anchored more deeply in their call to ministry

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