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How to Create a Thriving Pastoral Care Ministry

How to Create a Thriving Pastoral Care Ministry

Anyone who’s spent time as a pastor knows how much time they spend doing pastoral care ministry for their flock.  It’s truly a calling from Him, but it doesn’t come without its difficulties.  Pastors work tirelessly to connect with their congregations on a deep level. But with so many people in the church – each with their own unique challenges – it seems like there’s no time for anything else.

In most churches, pastors not only represent a small handful of staff but there’s usually one pastor per 100 church members on average.  If you’re a pastor or you work with them, let’s talk about some ways that you can extend your reach and shepherd more people to create a greater impact on your congregation with the right pastoral care tools.

Find Others with a Heart for Ministry

As stated earlier, there are roughly 100 members per pastor in most churches.  As a pastor, how do you efficiently shepherd 100 people at any given time?  It’s a difficult ask, that’s for sure. One way to increase your pastoral care ministry is by increasing the pastoral staff in your church. For some churches, that’s a realistic and needed option, especially if a key goal is to continue upward growth.  But for most churches, that’s just not a reality for their budget today.

Another way to handle this is by leaning on your deacons or elders, or those who are highly connected to your ministry.  This may be someone who volunteers regularly or is part of committees in your church. Those who are group leaders are also a natural fit as they’re actively discipling people on a much smaller scale.  Either way, church members like this are usually looking for ways to help grow and disciple new people. It’s important you vet them first though, to make sure they’re serious about it and have a pastor’s heart.

If you’re not leaning on your church management solution (or ChMS) this is an important step.  Certain ChMS’s like Realm by ACS Technologies help you find those who are highly active with volunteering or are group leaders so you can reach out to them.  You can even communicate with them directly in Realm to help you save time from jumping through communication hoops.  

Opt for Training

Arguably, the hardest part of expanding your pastoral care ministry is finding the right people who can help.  However, once you’ve checked that box, it’s a great idea to make sure they’re fully trained so they can be the most effective in their new role.  Training can come in all shapes and sizes (and budgets).  One way to handle training is to do it yourself. The reality is that chances are you’re spread too thin as it is; adding pastoral care training to your overbooked calendar may not be the best way to achieve that goal.

Another option is to bring in an outside consultant.  For churches with the right budget, this may be an option.  But let’s be honest; consultants – especially those who are experienced in ministry training – can be quite pricey.  In some cases you may not even get your money’s worth.  As a church leader, you know every dollar counts.  

Churches nowadays are moving to online training and consulting.  The main benefit being that online church tools are significantly cheaper than an in-person consultant.  Secondly, your pastoral care teams can be trained when it’s convenient for them whereas in-person consultants usually come to your church during office hours when your teams are at work.

Online tools such as MinistrySmart Academy by ACS Technologies allow a one-stop shop for all your training needs.  Not only are tools like this cost effective, since they’re online, they can be accessed at any time – 24/7/365.  They can even be used by other staff who are not specifically focused on pastoral care such as those who oversee your accounting, online church contributions, or other aspects of your overall church management.

The Right Tool for the Job

Once you’ve selected the right people and you’ve begun getting them effectively trained, the final step may be the most important of all.  Without it, all this time and energy you’re spending could be for nothing.  To truly expand and execute on your newly formed pastoral care ministry, you’ll need to get the right tools in the hands of your team.  Most church leaders look towards mobile apps that are focused on pastoral care.  

Tools for communication, pastoral notes, discipleship tracking, and more all make a difference when you put them in the hands of your team.  Best of all, when you choose the right tools, you’ll get an all-in-one solution without having to manage multiple solutions.  As already mentioned, Realm by ACS Technologies allows your staff to have all the tools they need to manage your church.  And as updates are made, they’re pushed directly to the Realm Shepherd mobile app, the app built specifically for pastoral care teams.  With Realm Shepherd, your pastoral care teams are able to quickly look up any individual in your church, see their profile, view any pertinent discipleship information, communicate with them, log pastoral notes and so much more.

There you have it: find the right people, get them trained when it’s most convenient for them, and provide them with the tools needed to support your pastoral care ministry goals. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but when you follow the above steps and get the right tools on your side, you’re sure to support and grow your pastoral care ministry in new ways like never before.  

Visit the ACS Technologies website to find out more about how we can help enhance your ministry through ChMS tools, mobile apps, online training, blogs and other free content, and so much more.

David is an Associate Product Marketing Manager and has been an ACS Technologies team member since 2011.  

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