While discussing pastoral care with three of my classmates today I realized that one definition that our teacher told us last week, a holistic definition written by Erik Ewald, fits nicely on the kind of upbringing my mother has endeavored to give me and my siblings.
Holistic pastoral care, according to Ewald, is when one human being helps a fellow human being to:
Attain “personal fulfillment” (självförverkligande) by taking full advantage of his/her individuality and being a creative person.
Mature to healing (in life) and consequently be able to establish deep and long-lasting relations with good people.
Grow up to be MORE than good citizens in order to fulfill God’s unique purpose for his/her life.
By this definition, God is God for the whole human and pastoral care strives to make a person human in full, which means being a Christian. In this way pastoral care becomes a part of The Way to Salvation. This is why the definition is called holistic.
I like Ewalds definition, but I feel it is result-oriented and as such not complete. It lacks a method. And pastoral care in church needs a method, I believe. So, here is mine (tough this one is incomplete too):
Pastoral care need to be static and relative at the same time. It should have a fixed center in Christ and it is the minister’s job to keep it there. But each soul is different and this is where the relative part comes in. The care must be adapted to the individual person so that it is progressive, encouraging, kerygmatic (bible based) etc. as need be. The approach towards the center, Jesus, is in other words to be determined according to the individual’s needs and capacity.