Spiritual Care & Development
Dear Friends, a couple of weeks ago I stepped into a new role at People’s Church after having had the privilege of serving as the Director of Discipleship here for almost a year. My new title is Pastor of Spiritual Care and Development. What a mouthful! It sure is, but with good reason. Here at People’s Church our mission is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” I view my role here as helping to facilitate this mission by empowering people connect with their spirituality on a deeper level. I would like to help explain a bit more about how this will look like by reflecting on these three words: Spiritual, Care, and Development.
Why the word, “Spiritual?” For starters, it carries less baggage with it than some other more “churchy” words do. In today’s cultural climate, the word “spiritual” is often an easier starting point for people who are unchurched or uneasy with the church than other, more traditionally religious words. We need to be mindful of what barriers we might be putting up with something as simple as language, for we are called to be “ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us,” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
When I worked as a hospital chaplain, I met with people of all different backgrounds. Some were people of faith, some were not. Yet I believe that God created all people with a sense of spirituality, regardless of the way that they self-define. In a secular hospital context, I defined spirituality broadly as “that which brings meaning and purpose in life.” This includes things such as family, nature, vocation, music… even religion itself (defined as a system of organized beliefs and traditions practiced by a community) is included under the umbrella of spirituality. Spirituality is all-encompassing. I’m glad that the word spiritual is at the forefront of my title, because it reminds us that Jesus has something to say to every part of our life. The ultimate source of meaning and purpose in our lives comes from God revealed in Jesus Christ.
My role is broken down into two parts: Care and Development. First, Care: We all go through times of challenge, loss, struggle, and uncertainty. We are called to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) I am here to walk alongside you: hospital visitation, private pastoral conversations and prayer, home visits for those who are homebound. I will also be supporting the ongoing ministries of the First Mondays gathering and the Care Team. In addition, I am working to help strengthen our congregation’s ability to care for one another through Growth Groups and other means of support.
Second, Development: This is a continuation of the role that I began last year. I will still be coordinating and developing our Growth Groups program. I will continue to help define and flesh out how our discipleship system (Connect, Grow, Live) works here at People’s to foster spiritual growth in our community.
In reality, these two areas - Care and Development - work hand-in-hand. We gain strength and resilience as we develop our faith in times that aren’t so challenging. We learn about God and ourselves through all of our lives, especially as we survive the difficult times. Our faith is a firm foundation for our spirituality, touching every aspect - body, mind, and soul. And we do all of this together, serving one another in love as ambassadors for Christ.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this community of faith, and I look forward to our work together. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any further questions or ideas you may have
Grace and peace,
Kate Sweet, Pastor of Spiritual Care and Development
From the Discipleship Team:
Believe it or not, summer is coming to an end. The good news is that Growth Groups are starting up again this Fall! This is a great way to get to know others at PUMC, connect with God in a new way, grow in your faith, and learn how to live it out. Groups will start the week of September 24. Look for sign-ups in early September.