The Odd Thing About Pastoral Care and Church Growth

Carey Nieuwhof has a great article on Pastoral Care and Church Growth. Feel free to click on it:

How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches

One might think that I would like the basic premise of the article… that a majority of Protestant churches are limited to less than 200 people by a senior pastor who focuses on pastoral care. After all, two of my jobs involve overseeing a counseling center and being responsible for a seminary’s pastoral care program. So why do I like it.

  1.  I think the article is true, and I have been saying that pastoral care is a leading reason limiting church growth size. It makes sense. A single pastor can parent perhaps 30 people (nuclear family). and can serve as a patriarch of perhaps 75 people (extended family), and pastor a PC-driven church.
  2. It offers a solution— Group driven pastoral care (peer sheparding) for 98% of PC concerns, and specialized counseling professionals for the other 2%.
  3. Pastors need to be trained in pastoral care to be able to well-implement a program as described in point #2.
  4. The article points out the value of pastoral care, and even of pastoral care specialists. I can hardly disagree with that.
  5. While the article may say that church growth is inhibited by pastoral care, it also makes clear that if done right, it can be an engine to release growth (different types of growth).




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