We believe the Bible teaches that the role of the church is to make disciples and that being a disciple is a lifelong process of growing into maturity and ultimately becoming more like Christ.
As we grow up into the likeness of Christ we inevitably know more of the greatness of God and are more able to share that greatness with others, which is the heart of our vision at WCC. Throughout that journey there will be seasons in which people require encouragement, support and care. The Bible is clear that we should bear one another’s burdens and provides numerous examples of ways in which we can care for each other through life’s different stages.
We believe that good pastoral care and effective discipleship are key in building a healthy church family whose lives testify to the greatness of God and are part of the substance of how we love one another.
With that in mind the Leadership Team are looking to prioritise pastoral care and discipleship within Walsall Community Church over this next season and have defined what they mean by these terms.
Pastoral Care: This is holistic and consists of the practical help, prayer and emotional support given to any person connected with Walsall Community Church to meet varying levels of need.
Discipleship: The process of helping a person to move forward in God and to mature into Christlikeness by offering accountability, challenge and opportunities to develop and to heal within a relationship based on love, grace and truth.
Christlike: A clear sense of identity in Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, fruits of the Spirit evident in their character, wholeness, walking in the power of the Spirit and seeing the kingdom come around them with a clear sense of calling.
One of the keys to effective pastoral care and discipleship is that the whole church is a part of it and that each member feels able to play their part. 1 Corinthians 12:18-27 talks about us being a body of many parts and stresses the importance of each body part doing it’s bit to ensure that the body as a whole functions well.
We currently have Small Groups which we expect to be a place where people receive the majority of the pastoral care they require, where they grow deeper in their knowledge of God and out of which we hope discipleship relationships can form.
A number of people provide different levels of pastoral care and discipleship to those around them on an individual basis. We want to encourage people to continue to do this.
The Pastoral Care and Discipleship Team
- To set up systems that allow for pastoral care and discipleship to be effectively received by all members of the church
- To create capacity for people on the edge of church to be cared for effectively and receive discipleship as they are able.
- To facilitate training that equips the body
- To work with the Small Group Co-ordinator to ensure Small Groups are healthy
- To signpost people towards resources as required
- To provide advice
- To provide support for situations that require it.
- In doing this we want to ensure that confidentiality is appropriately respected.
Love, Acceptance, Grace, Truth, Trust, Honour, Respect, Low control and valuing choice, Biblical, Hope (living from a place of victory), Growing towards maturity and Connected to the vision of WCC.
To facilitate a consistent culture of pastoral care and discipleship across Walsall Community Church so that all are cared for, supported and in a discipleship relationship.
There will be a Core Team made up of Chris Loh, Hayley Russell, Matt Heaton, Martin Hunt and Debbie Hunt. These people will
- Have an overview of the needs across WCC and those connected to WCC
- Have an overview of the resources available
- Delegate to the appropriate person/people
- Handle complex PC&D needs
There will also be a Wider Team, which will be a practical team made up of people who have a heart for PC&D and who have some experience in delivering it. This is a team of people with capacity so that the Core Team can call on them for emergencies and for situations that require some experience. They will also be aiming to take on two to three people in discipleship over time.
Martin & Debbie Hunt
Pastoral Care and Discipleship Functioning in the Church
We are committed to seeing the whole church involved in caring for one another and in drawing each other forwards in God. These are some of the suggested remits for each group within the church:
The Elders and Congregational Leaders: Have an important role in safeguarding the body through prayer and are an invaluable source of advice. Each member of the eldership team is skilled in providing pastoral care and discipleship on an individual basis.
Leadership Team: Responsible for the vision and direction of the congregation, have a responsibility to ensure PC&D is being done effectively and that they are setting an example to others. This will involve identifying congregational training needs, being involved in pastoral care and discipling growing leaders.
Pastoral Core Team: To facilitate a culture of PC&D throughout the church, to identify gaps in training and provide necessary training, to be a resource that can aid in emergency situations, provide assistance in setting up more long term plans, provide advice and signposting. Discipling those within the wider team as well as others and providing pastoral care as required.
Wider Pastoral Team / Small Group Leaders: Providing support and discipleship to those identified by the Core Team and those within their sphere of responsibility. Identifying, highlighting and at times providing assistance to needs within WCC.
The Body: Providing discipleship and pastoral care to those around them as they are able. To create a sense of belonging, friendship comfort and support.