Self-Care in Pastoral Ministry: The Challenge of Personal Experience

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Iwuofor, Phina
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
My experiences in life have taught me that it is common practice that pastors and caregivers rarely take care of themselves in their bid to minister effectively to others. Therefore, 1 chose this area of my ministerial project because I am seeking a holistic understanding of what and how we can be truly “humans” and “Christians” in our vocation to life, whether it is a voluntary ministry or a paid apostolate. It is becoming clear to me that a lot of care givers are so consumed in the love of their ministry that they do an “injustice” to themselves in the sense of neglecting to stay healthy for the sake of the ministry that they love doing. Christianity is a way of living; it involves an active life that is all encompassing. When we divorce our lives as Christians in relation to social, political or economic life, we create a chasm that is not healthy for authentic living. Jesus insists in John 10.10, “I came that they may have life and have it in full”. That fullness of life is only possible when we maintain that balance in our lives that leads to wholeness; that is, when we are able to grow and mature in the community of believers. So it is this need to nurture that faith and caring through service to others, to seek that growth through self-care, and to sustain that balance unto wholeness that has motivated me to pursue this course of study.