Relationships with external care providers Essay

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Cultivating and nurturing relationships with outside care providers and researchers who are involved in a churchs social programs is easy to forget; it can fall by the wayside as a busy pastor tries to juggle many balls, and it is easy to delegate these programs to willing volunteers or outside help. However, study after study has emphasized the importance of pastoral involvement in social programs as a factor for their success. The congregation trusts the pastor implicitly: they trust his judgment and will follow his lead.

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.

REFERENCES Adkinson-Bradley, Carla, Johnson, Darrell, Sanders, JoAnn, Duncan, Lonnie, & Holcomb- McCoy, Cheryl. Forging a Collaborative Relationship Between the Black Church and the Counseling Profession. Counseling and Values 49 (January 2005):147-154. Blank, Michael, Mahmood, Marcus, Fox, Jeanne, & Guterbock, Thomas.

Alternative Mental Health Services: The Role of the Black Church in the South. American Journal of Public Health. 92. 10 (October 2002): 1668-1672. Borg, Walter R. Educational Research. New York: David McKay Co. , 1963 Drake, St. Clair and Cayton, Horace. Black Metropolis: A Study of the Negro life in a Northern City. New York: Hartcourt, Brace & World, 1970 Ferguson, Everett. Factors leading to the selection and closure of the New Testament Canon Debate. . in The Canon Debate. Eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002. Ferman, Gerald S. , and Jack Levin.

Social Science Research a Handbook for Students. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1975. Isaac, Stephen. , and William B. Michael. Handbook in Research Evaluation. 2d Ed. San Diego, CA: Robert R. Knapp, 1988 Lewin, Kurt, Action Research in Minority Problems, Journal of Social Issues. 2, no. 4. 1948. Markens, Susan, Fox, Sarah A. , Taub, Bonnie, Gilbert, Mary Lou. Role of Black Churches in Health Promotion Programs: Lessons from the Los Angeles Mammography Promotion in Churches Program. May, 2002. 92(5):805-810. Miller, Kelly. Radicals and Conservatives and other essays on the Negro in AmericaNew York:Schocken Books, 1968.

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