Pastoral Ministries

What is pastoral ministry? This is the ministry that pastors do. In Greek, the word pastor means “shepherd.” A shepherd guides, teaches, cares for, and watches over the flock. With this definition, a pastor of a congregation is a spiritual leader who guides the congregation’s vision and cares for its people. A pastor preaches and teaches the Word of God and encourages the congregation members in their lives of faith and service. There is more. The pastor visits people in times of need and in times of joy, counsels people who are hurting, attends congregation meetings, and facilitates relationships with members and the surrounding community.

Depending on the needs of a church and the size of staff pastors may have different responsibilities. Here at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church there are four fundamental areas of responsibility for our pastors.

Leadership

Congregations are tasked with spreading the love of Christ where they are planted. How Christ’s love is spread takes discernment, prayer, faithfulness, and commitment. A pastor provides benchmarks for the congregation’s vision and mission throughout its different groups and committees. The pastor sits on council, attends meetings and church events, and oversees the church staff.

Education

Bible study and faith formation are key components of pastoral ministry. Our pastors offer Bible studies, studies on current issues as they relate to faith, confirmation class for teens, and Sunday school oversight.

Sacraments & Worship

Lutherans identify two sacraments (something that has an earthly element and is instituted by Christ Himself); Baptism and Holy Communion. The pastor presides over both of these sacraments during worship services. Holy Communion also is given to people who are home bound or those in special circumstances.

Worship is a large part of a pastor’s call. From worship planning, to adult and children’s sermon preparation, to leading worship, the pastor works closely with others to make sure that there is accountability to God’s word throughout the worship service and that the message of the day is communicated as clearly as possible through word and song.

 

Pastoral Care

When a pastor receives a call to a specific congregation, the pastor is entrusted with the spiritual and emotional health of its members. Minnehaha Communion realizes that physical and mental health also is important to a person’s overall well-being. Pastors pay attention to all these areas when offering pastoral care. They may visit people in their homes, in the hospital, or in nursing homes to provide spiritual support and care. The pastors may be called upon for crisis counseling or other difficulties. If necessary, the pastors will make referrals to other professionals so that people can receive the care they need. When a death in the family occurs, the pastors can be seen at bedsides, at funeral planning meetings, and presiding at funerals.

Pastoral care also takes place during joyous times. The pastors enjoy performing house blessings in new dwellings, offering pre-marital counseling, officiating at weddings, and participating in other events.
The pastors at Minnehaha Communion also keep the neighborhood in their prayers and concerns. A prayer box is available in the Little Free Library outside of the church building where anyone can request a prayer. On occasion, neighbors stop in for spiritual support or in times of grief. The pastors are happy to offer this kind of help and support.