Monday, March 17, 2008

Where the professional meets the pastoral

I think that The Salvation Army is at its best when the professional and pastoral elements of our movement come together to help people in need. I've seen both of these running independently and have no doubt that they can work very well for some people. However, if we are serious about being committed to the most disadvantaged people in our society, then we will need both parts working together at full strength.

The main advantage in this is not for us, but for those whom we serve. Some of the people that I know have their own collection of professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, case managers, lawyers) who attend to their varying life crises, but they have no real friends. On the other hand, I don't know too many corps that have the resilience to cope by themselves, over the long term, with some of the challenging behaviours that we see on a regular basis.

We need more and better partnerships between corps and social services that will allow us to offer people the best of both worlds - the Professional and the Pastoral. And then perhaps we might find our way towards balancing the Priestly, Prophetic and Practical dimensions of the gospel!

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