FIVE PRIMARY PASTORAL FUNCTIONS
Howard Clinebell (1990) has categorized five pastoral functions that have existed since the beginning of the first century church. These include:
Healing: wholeness or completeness in one's life. One of the primary pastoral functions is to bring about healing into the lives of the people to whom the pastor ministers.
Sustaining: the ability to assist people to handle the difficult times in their lives. These include the crises of life that are developmentally oriented or situationally determined.
Guiding: removing confusion from people and giving them a set of beliefs and standards they can live by and trust.
Reconciling: the reestablishing of relationships that have been broken, both with the Lord and with one another.
Nurturing: helping people to sense the security and affirmation of being oved within the Body of Christ.
From the beginning, pastors have attempted to meet the needs of people through the activities of preaching, teaching, and counseling. In reality this places a tremendous burden on the man or woman of God. Why would that be? Historically the church had an average of 70 people in it. It was not too difficult for one pastor to be able to shepherd this number of people.
However, in the age of the mega church and with the tremendous needs of modern society, it is very difficult for one pastor to meet all of the needs that are present in the people's lives. Even the Lord Jesus Christ knew that. When Jesus ascended into heaven he gave the five-fold ministry to the church: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, for the edification of the saints for the work of the ministry (Ep 4). All five ministries were necessary in training and empowering people to be effective within the local church.
Therefore, it is essential that there be a trained laity to be able to minister alongside the local pastor to ensure that the needs of the people are met. One of the primary areas essential in helping people grow in the things of the Lord is discipleship counseling. The premise of this book is that the trained counselor can be used in helping people resolve personal problems, and is vital to the body of Christ. With effectual trained lay leaders, more of God's walking wounded can become the people that God wants them to be.