Lay Spiritual Care

Spiritual care has been over-professionalisedas an activity of the clergy alone. Little place is given in discussions of this care for the involvement of lay members of churches. This paper explores the abundant New Testament evidence for the necessity of lay spiritual care. Evidence ranges from the nature of the church as a united body of believers where each part has reciprocal responsibilities for spiritual care of other members; the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and its implications; and the relational nature of human beings created in the image of an other-person-centred, Trinitarian God. In addition, concepts such as the nature of "encouragement" and related ideas are discussed. In conclusion, not only is it argued that lay involvement is expected to take place as a normal activity of being Christian in community, but such involvement is vitally important for the health and maturity of the church. Such observations finally also lead to a definition of "spiritual care" as understood in the New Testament.