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4 Keys to Lead a Volunteer Pastoral Care Team

Dec 15 2016

We are all called to care for people. It’s not just a church cliché, but it really is a God-given mandate.

Pastoral care isn’t just restricted to the pastors at a church, but in one way or another, we’re all called to care for people. One of the best ways your church can care for the congregation is to create strong volunteer pastoral care team.


Here are four important keys…

1. Communicate clear criteria to potential team members

Anyone can volunteer as part of the pastoral care team, as long as they meet the right requirements and criteria. Who are the people in your church that have the potentially to be effective in pastoral care? Who are the individuals that are active in contributing to team?

Make sure that the requirements to join your pastoral care team are strong. That way, you know who to look for, and people know the kind of qualities they need. There should be no grey areas regarding the expectations you have for volunteer team members.

2. Build strong relationships with your team members

Building strong relationships with the people on your team is crucial.

Are you making people feel like they’re valued and that they’re part of a family? Make it a point to get to know those on your team. Pray for them. Be involved in their lives. Regularly meet with them and speak life into them.

3. Empower and equip your team members

As pastors and church leaders, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your volunteer team members are not just doing their tasks well, but that their lives are flourishing. What are you doing to help their marriage flourish, to help them become better parents, to help them with their devotions, to help them manage their time better? Let’s care for our teams’ lives outside of what “they can do for us.”

What are you doing to upskill your team? At our church, we have a ‘pastoral care wheel’ which covers the different areas our pastors care for, including: relationships, life skills, death, health challenges, crisis and grief, mental health, trauma and special needs. We’ll often provide courses and training sessions so that our team can facilitate care in these areas more effectively.

On our Online Portal we offer this complimentary pastoral care Wheel to help you to see how this wheel assists our team with the practical outworking of these areas.

Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to be the best pastors we can be. We owe it to the people we’re caring for. How are you growing and developing yourself? Invest in yourself relationally, educationally, and spiritually.

4. Teach your team members how to create wise boundaries

Different pastors will deal with things in different ways, and will come up with their own boundaries. But as leaders, we need to teach our volunteer teams to be able to put the right boundaries in place. We need to be accessible, but not available 24/7 at the expense of our personal and family time. We need to be friendly, but we don’t have to be best friends with everybody.

Whatever it looks like, empower your pastoral care volunteer team to be wise in creating boundaries. We need to make sure that our team members, their families and their lives are safe, healthy and flourishing. And by ensuring healthy pastoral care team members, we build strong pastoral care volunteer teams.


This thought was originally shared by our Hillsong Pastoral Care team during an ‘Online Open Week’ webinar in February 2016 hosted by Terry Scott, who along with his wife Julie are Relationship Pastors at Hillsong Sydney. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.

If you would like to watch the full recording, check out the ‘Pastoral Care Wheel’, or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.