Pastoral Care Trichotomies

The essence of ministerial interventions is spiritual. However, aspects of the spiritual strategies are manifested in the body and soul. Specifically:

  • Agapic Care is the essence of ministerial interventions
  • Pistosic Care is required for spiritually-rooted physical actions
  • Elpistic Care is for spiritually-rooted emotional expressions.

In the context of Pastoral Care, ministering to the human spirit means employing strategies to produce the relevant spiritual outcome (see Table 2). The desired outcomes are measured against Fructus Spiritus. Ministry toward the desired outcomes is based on Relational Theology. Relationships are the foundation for all Pastoral Care.

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The spiritual condition of an individual relates to others. Pastoral Care ministers to the interconnectedness of humanity through the Trinitarian Model. This is the Christian concept of God as a single Entity expressed through three Personalities.

  • The Father is a Spirit shared by Son
  • The Father is the Son in Body
  • The Son is the embodiment of the Father’s Soul and Spirit.

This single Entity cannot exist in isolation. The crossover in the relationship between Father & Spirit and Son & Spirit is the basis of spiritual care. No human spirit can be well in isolation. Spiritual well-being is relational. That means the human trichotomy of spirit, soul and body is “whole” when in relationship with itself, with others and with God.

Figure 2

Pastoral Care strategies are centred on the Triumvirate; spiritual conditions are managed by Fructus Spiritus; ministries work within the related level of fulfilment. The “fruit” of holistic well-being is associated with three levels of association (see Table 3).

Primary fruitfulness in one’s being is the foundation for fulfilment. This is one’s relationship with Authority, represented by the Father in the Trinitarian Model.

Secondary fruitfulness is transitional. This is one’s relationship with Family, represented by the Son in the Trinitarian Model. Family in the context of Pastoral Care is not limited to blood-relationships. It includes all those closest to the individual as well as the individual itself.

Tertiary fruitfulness is fulfilment. This is one’s relationship with Society, represented by the Spirit in the Trinitarian Model. However, the relationship is reflective of inner peace. To be at peace with others is only possible if one is at peace with their Self.

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Pastoral Care Strategies

Recently, I responded to the challenge of defining Pastoral Care. Working within the Aged Care Services sector, the challenge was applicable. Since that time, I have been developing an overview of care strategies and management of spiritual conditions. It is still work in progress! However, I’d like to share some of that work with my readers in this week to come.

Ministerial Intervention is the work of Pastoral Care to manage a spiritual condition. Effective engagement uses the strategies from the Spiritual Triumvirate: Faith, Hope and Charity. The three care strategies for spiritual management (see diagram below) are:

  1. Pistosic Care (faith-based)
  2. Elpistic Care (hope-based)
  3. Agapic Care (charity-based).

Each of the care strategies are used to guide the intervention. Each strategy contains different types of intervention. The different types, in turn, have spiritual resources unique to their ministry. The table below illustrates the relationship between care strategies, management ministries and spiritual resources.

Table 1All three strategies overlap. The distinction is given for emphasis on management of spiritual conditions. The overlap illustrates the interconnectedness of being human and is faithful to the holistic mode for care:

  • Body – Medical Treatments
  • Soul – Therapeutic Treatments
  • Spirit – Ministerial Treatments

There have been numerous studies conducted over the past 50 years that show a person’s health and well-being benefits when his or her spiritual needs are addressed. Some benefits include:

  • shorter hospital stays
  • improved pain management
  • improved experience of the stay
  • improved motivation to complete the tasks of healing
  • improved management of cardiovascular needs (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure)
  • improved sense of well-being.

The overlap of Pastoral Care strategies mimics the overlap in other fields (see Figure 1). Medical treatments yield positive effects on Soul and Spirit; therapeutic treatments effect the Spirit and Body positively; and, as previously noted, ministerial treatments produce positive consequences for the Soul and Body.

Figure 1

(To be continued)

Previous Related Post: What Is Pastoral Care?