A pastor who remains interested and enthusiastic about social programs, with as much active involvement as his time allows, will produce a congregation which is interested in and enthusiastic about its churchs social programs, willing to support them and utilize them if they are in need. The pastor can also help ensure success of a social program administered by outsiders by helping the outsiders to understand the cultural norms, traditions and history of the church.
This is particularly important in a church where there are significant mental health programs in place; maintaining ties to the formal care system , and gaining the knowledge required to pre-screen congregants and help provide referrals to formal care services when required.
CONCLUSION The Black church has developed a unique tradition of holistic care for its congregants.
In an atmosphere of slavery, oppression, inequality and uneven or nonexistent access to formal services, the extended family and the care services provided by the church has been invaluable in preserving the physical and mental health of African-Americans. Today, this tradition continues with formalized social programs as well as informal care networks; areas such as community health care, mental health, youth services, and economic and literacy initiatives as well as traditional pastoral care continue to provide an essential resource to congregants who are still underserved and suffer disproportionately from social ills.
In order to ensure that the congregants of his church have the best chance at health and secular success as well as spiritual well-being, the pastor of the Black church must determine the best social programs to emphasize, and facilitate the implementation of these programs to the best of his ability.
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