Spiritual Formation in Parish Pastoral Care

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Pastoral care and counselling usually takes place when congregants find themselves in a crucial or critical situation in their life. An important motive for pastoral care in Christianity, however, is the spiritual guidance of believers. In this project we test a model for spiritual formation in regular parish situations.

We search for a model for pastoral guidance that is holistic and engages the entire human being. Four topics have been selected: psychological wellbeing, spiritual practices, moral character and spiritual character.

In four pastoral conversation, parishioners select one topic for each conversation with their pastor, guided by a set of prompt cards.

A first design of the method was described in an article by Neil Pembroke and others.1 Neil Pembroke is the projectleader. The method has been developed in a consortium of practical theologians: Neil Pembroke (Queensland, Australië) Jan-Albert van den Berg (Bloemfontein, South-Africa), William Schmidt (Chicago, USA), Ewan Kelly (Edinburgh, United Kingdom) en Theo Pleizier (Groningen, The Netherlands).

In spring 2020 I asked three pastors in Groningen to test the method. Each of the pastors worked with three congregants to test the model in six conversations

  1. Pembroke, Neil, Suzanne Coyle, Janet Gear, Peter Gubi, Ewan Kelly, Daniel Louw, Lex McMillan, e.a. “Toward A Structured, Tri-Domain Model Of Companioning In Christian Formation By Pastoral Agents In A Congregational Setting: A Preliminary Report On An International Research Project”. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling 72, nr. 2 (1 juni 2018): 104–15. https://doi.org/10.1177/1542305018765659. ↩︎

Theo Pleizier
Theo Pleizier
Assistant Professor of Practical Theology

My research interests include pastoral care, preaching, military chaplaincy and missional theology.