Respecting the physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries of others when functioning in the pastoral position remains among the important factors which need to be considered when one has been given an opportunity to serve in this position. Notably, there are different approaches which must be employed or rather utilized for one to be successful in exercising pastoral authority while at the same time maintaining the respect for the physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries of those who are being served and those with whom one is serving with.
To begin with, when functioning pastorally, I have developed specific approaches which I usually utilize as a way of maintaining this respect. First, in every pastoral relationship, I do establish it with openness, sensitivity and respect, and then deepen this relationship in the same manner. Similarly, if need be, I do end such relationships in the same way I began them. For instance, I do respect the physical attributes of others such physical disability, race, gender, etc. In addition, there are words that I cannot use since they can easily hurt the emotions of other people. More still, understanding that people have different spirituality levels; I do treat each one of them according to his level. Therefore, using these principles, and leaving nothing to chance, I am able to maintain respect for the physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries of others.
Use pastoral authority appropriately
As it has been mentioned in numerous instances, authority can either build or destroy individuals and congregations. Therefore, the appropriate use of authority is critical in the establishment of a favourable relationship between the person in a pastoral authority and individual(s) in the congregation. Therefore, the first approach which has enable me as a person in pastoral authority to use my authority well is through providing fair judgment not only of issues which I encounter but also between the people who have contentious issues among themselves. In line with this, avoiding a biased approach to issues has been one of the key issues to dealing with authority in an appropriate manner. More to this, the use being open-minded in my approach to issues has enabled to exercise my authority within its stipulated limits. Therefore, I do not prejudge issues without having gathered the necessary information. Additionally, despite the fact that I am in a place of authority, I use my authority under the regulation which have been defined within my area of practice. Notably, there are important guidelines which have been laid down and which must be followed to the letter.
Identify one's professional strengths and limitations in the provision of pastoral care
There are numerous strengths and weaknesses which I have come across so far in the provision of pastoral care. To begin with, the provision of pastoral care requires one to acquire certain skills and knowledge which is critical in the dissemination of these services to the people who are being ministered to. In this instance, most of the skills and knowledge can be acquired in school and training colleges in different parts of the United States and across the globe. For instance, most colleges offer counselling courses which are vital to any person in the professional pastoral position. Furthermore, once a person has acquired these skills and knowledge, one has enough time to minister to different kinds of people in the community without limitations, thus putting these skills and knowledge into practice.
On the other hand, by the fact that one is in pastoral authority does not imply that one would be able to meet all the needs of people in the society. On the contrary, there are challenges in regard to how one is able to meet the needs of these people. Notably, there are different areas which one needs to attend to yet only a limited time is available to meet these needs. More so, one has to expose him/herself to different risks when ministering to the people in the society and one may become a target in the society thus risking the life of oneself.
Articulate ways in which one's feelings, attitudes, values and assumptions affect one's pastoral care
The feelings, attitudes, values and assumptions may affect a person’s pastoral care in many different ways. To begin with, the feelings of a person toward other people determine whether one would be able to serve in that community or not. For instance, when a person has negative feelings and attitudes towards certain communities in his area of service, that person would not be able to serve effectively. This is also seen when a person portrays has an affection towards certain people in the society. For instance, when one is sympathetic towards children in the society, he or she will find grace in serving these children.
Similarly, values and assumptions of a person also affect the pastoral care of a person either positively or negatively in the society. In line with this, the values that a person has are able to set the boundaries, goals and other important issues which are critical in the delivery of pastoral care in the society. For example, when one does not have sexual values, he or she would easily fall into the sexual trap and thus violate the pastoral ethics which have been set by the pastoral body. Therefore, a person’s attitude, feelings, values and assumptions would either enable one to succeed or fail in his or her pastoral care.
Advocate for the persons in one's care
One of the important achievements of pastoral care is advocating for the persons in one’s care. In line with this, as a person in pastoral care, I have the responsibility of taking care of people who have been entrusted to me. As a result of this, I have a responsibility of finding out how they are doing by conducting visits while in some cases, I do invite them to my office to check how they are fairing on. With this in mind, I am able to follow up on their progress in life while at the same time identifying different challenges in their lives. In addition to this, some of the difficult cases which I have managed to come across before, I have always forwarded these cases to higher authorities for further assistance.
Function within the Common Code of Ethics for Chaplains, pastoral counselors, pastoral educators and students
Adherence to ethics is also an important aspect in the accomplishment of pastoral care. To begin with having trained in this field, there is specific code of ethics which I have to adhere to on a daily operation of pastoral activities. To accomplish these ethics, I have to revise them often and work towards adhering to them by avoiding being involved in issues which would result in violation of these ethics. Therefore, I have developed virtues in my life such as honesty and faithfulness, which has strengthened my ability to adhere to this code of ethics, whether alone or in groups. Similarly, in order to function within the confines of the common ethics of pastoral counsellors, educators and students, I have clearly defined the boundary between the people I am dealing with and myself. These boundaries are maintained both during official and non-official functions. With these in place, I am able to adhere to these codes of ethics.
Attend to one's own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being
Attending to one’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-beings is also an important aspect of the pastoral care. Notably, whereas one may have been entitled to care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of other, he or she must care for these needs in his/her life too. In regard to this, as a person in pastoral care, I do take sabbatical leaves to take a humble time and rest from the daily work. This ensures that I have gained physical rest. In additional to taking occasional rests, I also participate in physical activities which guarantees that I am in a good shape physically.
In addition to taking care of my physical needs, I have also made it my habit to read and meditate on my spiritual books as well as attending to religious gatherings every week and sometime in the evening during the weekdays. In this regards, I have been able to meet my spiritual needs and thus ensure that I am spiritually strong every moment in my life. Note that I cannot take care of the spiritual needs of others when I am unable to take care of my needs. Apart from attending to my spiritual needs, I also attend to my emotional needs. In consistent with this, I have formed friendship with reliable people in the pastoral care some of whom are my mentor. Therefore, whenever I have emotional needs, these people play a critical role in meeting them.