Trans-generational mentorship : a challenge to pastoral care as life care

Oosthuizen, Johannes Jacobus (2007-12)

Thesis (MDiv (Practical Theology and Missiology. Divinity))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


In Ecclesiastes 4 the author writes that two people are better than one and that a cord of three strands is not quickly broken (NIV). The Bible is full of examples how godly men and women such as Moses, David, Ruth, Paul, Mark and many others understood this concept and surrounded them with people that could mentor them through life. It important to notice that they were not only mentored in “spiritual matters,” but in life matters. In Jesus’ ministry on earth he often taught about finances (e.g. Matt 25:14-30), marriage (e.g. Matt 5:31), relationships (e.g. Matt 5:44), anxiety (e.g. Matt 6:27) etc. These ‘everyday life issues’ were never separated from spiritual issues such as the Kingdom, forgiveness, holiness etc in Jesus’ teaching. And it would not have been, for in the Jewish culture, as well as the Hellenistic culture of the time, one’s faith was interwoven with all dynamics of life (food, clothing, trade etc). To teach someone about taxes or food, was just as ‘spiritual’ as teaching someone about the attributes of God. Unfortunately the Enlightment era brought a ‘split’ between ‘spiritual’ and ‘life’ matters, which left us with a legacy of Christians who knew their religion, yet were unequipped to live life. In this research paper I believe that it is shown that the local congregation has all the gifts, expertise, wisdom and people from different walks of life that are needed to return to a ‘system’ of life mentoring. It is one of the calls and purposes of the church and is the definition of pastoral care. With the correct informal, yet managed approach, the local congregation can serve as an incubator and network of trans-generational mentoring relationships which will mentor its members as well as non-members to live life in full.

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