This is the final installment in a series celebrating Pastoral Care Week 2015: Spiritual Care Together, October 25-31, 2015. Read part 1 of the series here. Read part 2 of the series here. Read part 3 of the series here. Read part 4 of the series here. Read part 5 of the series here. Read part 6 of the series here.
By Danny Garnett
Nurturing spiritual well-being in others and even in ourselves always takes a team of individuals and resources. Over the past thirty years as I have worked as a pastoral counselor, I have had the opportunities to work with chaplains, ministers in congregations, counselors and also with many church staff in local congregations ministering to local communities and individuals. My life has been touched and inspired by these individuals. I am regularly reminded that the work we do each day is not easy. Offering spiritual care to others requires that we also take time to care for our own spiritual well-being.
As you know, spiritual well-being is the harmony that is created when our thoughts/desires, behaviors and emotions are in sync with the guidance of our souls. Unfortunately, our lives become very saturated with ministry, the pace of life we live, technology, family issues, etc.
During the past year, I have had the opportunities to provide some support and information to clergy working in communities in South Carolina on topics like “The Importance of Spiritual Well-Being…” and “They Didn’t Teach Me That in Seminary.” The latter topic focused on the importance of clergy creating time and space to nurture personal spiritual time with God. In the day and culture we live in, I often get concerned with how little time and space each of us create in our personal lives to take care of our own personal, spiritual well-being.
I am reminded that if it takes a team to nurture spiritual well-being in others, it may also take a team of people and resources to nurture spiritual well-being in our own personal lives.
One of the resources that I have found valuable in my own life is a peer learning group. I have been fortunate over the past 9 years to participate in a leadership consultation group that was created by the Samaritan Institute. The Samaritan Institute provides accreditation to pastoral counseling centers throughout our country. The institute began to encourage and build these groups as a resource to the leadership in counseling centers. My leadership consultation group is composed of directors of counseling centers from Washington, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina. We meet two times each year and support each other in our spiritual lives and leadership skills development.
I know that CBF offers regional peer learning groups. I would encourage each of us to be open to finding this kind of ministry support and resources in our own region. These kinds of resources are very valuable in helping us grow in our spiritual resiliency in ministry. Please take time to share what you do in your own life.
Danny Garnett is a CBF-endorsed pastoral counselor serving as the Director for Palmetto Health Counseling in Columbia, S.C.