Caregiving and the Need
In Ephesians 4:16 Paul says,
“…from who the whole body being fitted together by that which every joint supplies according to the proper working of each individual part causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (NAS).
Caregiving ministry is discipleship. The Holy Spirit’s role as comforter and paraclete or “caregiver” is to help Christians conform to the image of Christ. In II Corinthians, chapter 1 the Apostle Paul states that Christians are all to be involved in the comforting or caregiving ministry. Christians are to come alongside one another and give care and assistance. Caregiving can be both a discipleship and healing ministry within the body of Christ.
Also, Christians need to learn to be able to comfort those who are hurting, and to bring correction to those not living according to God’s principles. In Galatians, chapter 6, the Christian is instructed to bear one another’s burdens, to nurture others and to bring edification or encouragement to those in the body of Christ.
WHO CAN GIVE CARE?
While everyone can give care and encouragement, not everyone is an effective caregiver. This is one problem often seen in pastoral ministry. Most pastors are not specifically trained in giving counsel, yet all of them will counsel. The only real question is, will they counsel effectively and with the power of God? Or will they do so impotently and ineffectively? The qualifications of someone involved in Christian caregiving should be somewhat obvious, but for purposes of clarity they are listed here:
1. Caregivers need to be people who have a personal and vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Caregivers should be under the authority of a local church.
3. It is important that caregivers have a proper attitude of heart. They must have a heart and mind of a servant leader.
4. Wisdom is needed, wisdom that comes from God.
5. Knowledge must be added to all of the above requirements. The caregiver needs information that will provide the training needed in the area of ministry.
6. Caregivers cannot minister above their level of wholeness.
WHAT IS THE OVERALL GOAL OF CAREGIVING?
There are many goals of caregiving. The first is to give hope. In I Corinthians 13 it says three things abide: faith, hope and love. Many people have faith, but when results are not seen, or change does not happen overnight, they develop a sense of hopelessness. Jesus came to give hope, both eternal hope as well as hope for the present. Part of the ministry of Christian caregiving is to offer hope to people.
Also, as previously mentioned, it gives encouragement in life. Caregiving helps people deal with the problem areas of life such as worry, anxiety, guilt, depression, anger, and issues of the flesh.
Caregiving will also assist people grow in the things of God and to develop more spiritual awareness of who they are in Christ, and what the Lord’s expectations for them are. People of proven character in all areas of life are needed as examples to others.
In our next blog, the scope of caring ministry is reviewed…hope to talk more with you soon.
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(Be sure to leave your comments for Dr. Stan, he would love to hear from you.)