The LCA/NZ has introduced a Professional Pastoral Supervision Program to support church workers in their ministries. This type of supervision works towards personal, relational and spiritual integrity in discipleship and ministry, supporting church workers and pastors to fulfil their God-given vocations with consistency and unity between theology and practice.
Approved by the General Church Board in October 2019, the new program offers an opportunity for church workers to speak confidentially and regularly with a trusted and skilled practitioner about what is happening in their ministry.
The College of Bishops oversees this program for church workers involved in ministry, beginning with active pastors.
This program is part of the church’s ongoing commitment to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Pastors and their calling bodies will each contribute to the cost of receiving supervision. This type of supervision does not replace the oversight of the bishops or pastoral care of pastors, zone fraternal meetings and pastors’ conferences. These things remain vital for the care and support of pastors.
The Professional Pastoral Supervision Program is led by Pastor Gordon Wegener, in conjunction with the LCA’s Church Worker Support Department. Pastors ordained over the past couple of years have been targeted to firstly receive pastoral supervision, since the first years are high risk for stress and burnout.
A recent graduate said, ‘Pastoral supervision has been a lifesaver in my first years. I had somewhere to go for help. In between sessions, I had somewhere to park issues arising and had the space to unpack them during my next session. It helps me to look at underlying issues in behaviour and thought patterns, not just reacting to surface experience.’
Pastor Wegener said these comments were typical of people in ministry once they had received the support of pastoral supervision.
‘The response of feeling supported and having somewhere to go for regular reflection on the complexities of ministry comes out no matter whether the person has been in ministry two years, 12 years or 32 years’, he said. ‘The outcome is the same – the person in ministry has somewhere safe to go regularly, to reflect, learn and grow in ministry. The LCA/NZ is offering a great support and space for people in ministry in challenging times, a time to be apart, as we observe Jesus often doing for himself and his disciples.’