Caring For The Soul
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for RENEWAL at Brookhaven Hospital
A pastor’s primary role is to feed the spirit and to shepherd the soul of their flock. Most theology schools do not require pastors to take courses in psychology. This is changing in the pastoral care ministry, however.
Why would a pastor study psychology? 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice that the scripture includes soul and body. Ministering to one’s spirit is just as important as ministering to the soul and taking care of our bodies.
It is generally agreed among religious and mental health researchers that pastors are often sought in times of emotional difficulty and serve as front-line primary mental health caregivers in many communities. (Weaver, Flannelly, Garbarino, Figley & Flannelly, 2003 and Lish, Fitzsimmons, McMinn & Root, 2003).
Faith is a powerful tool. Faith and action- the power twins, is a much greater tool towards recovery. Dr. Jeff Walker , pastor of Victory Church in Rancho Mirage took his pastoral academic learning to a higher level and obtained his Doctorate in Psychology. Walker said, “I love to learn and the educational process was invigorating to my mind and spirit. It was also a wonderful healing adventure…one that is still in progress.”
The study of the brain is very interesting. I personally enjoyed my journey during my undergraduate education in the field of advanced physiology and psychology. The journey was life changing. It helped me understand my own soul and strengthen my spirit.