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The Team member can and often does derive meaning from loving and caringthis way. Through tender acts of hospitality and support, Team members are
participating in the ongoing story of God’s relationship
to humanity. This maytake shape in the spiritual growth of Team members. (Earl Shelp and RonaldSunderland,
. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000, p. 61).
Caregiving Team ministry can also provide a sense of identity for the personsinvolved. Being engaged in ministry can foster a sense of vocation and purpose.
(Roy Fairchild, “Retirement,” in
The Dictionary of Pastoral Care andCounseling
, ed. Rodney Hunter, Nashville: Abingdon, 1990. Pp. 1081-2.) Thissustained sense of identity has implication for Caregiving Team ministry. A casein point, many Team members are approaching retirement or are already retired.Serving on a Caregiving Team can help to maintain a sense of usefulness to thecommunity and may improve their own quality of life by giving them purpose,meaning, satisfaction during a time of life and role transition.
Sunderland says it this way, “
The claim of people who are chronically ill or disabled upon the compassion and nurture of the congregation is sharp and clear. Failure to respond with love expressed in prophetic word and hands-on love is a denial of our identification as a servant people of a just and loving
(Earl Shelp and Ronald Sunderland,
. Nashville: AbingdonPress, 2000, p. 50.) There are numerous scripture passages which give thecongregation of faith the responsibility of serving those in need: Lev. 19: 18;Deut. 10: 18; Ps. 146; Jer. 7: 1-7; and Matt. 25: 31-46. The scriptures are quiteclear, so, if there is a need by someone referred for Care Team® ministry, thatperson becomes a neighbor. The Caregiving Team has a responsibility torespond. In responding with loving care, the Team becomes an extension of thepeople of God
, embodying God’s love in the world.
Caregiving Team ministry seeks relationship with the other so that both partiesmay have more meaningful lives. Russell Burck describes
this as a “specialbond that can exist in a community of care…that makes available healing and
all parties involved. He describes how relationships ofsupport, empathy, and shared vulnerability create deep connections betweenboth parties in a caring relationship. Such relationships are an avenue throughwhich people can find meaning in life and/or experience the sacred. (J. Russell
Burck, “Community, Fellowship
and Care.” in
The Dictionary of Pastoral Careand Counseling
, ed. Rodney Hunter, Nashville: Abingdon, 1990. pp. 202-3)