“What is a theology of care? How is this appropriate in our church and our lives?” asked Rev. Byron Stevenson, pastor of The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land, at the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting workshop, “A Theology of Caring.” Stevenson opened the workshop with a time of prayer and worship to God, for “He is good and He is kind.”
The encouragement he shared was anchored in Matthew 9:35-36, when Jesus was moved with compassion for the multitudes.
“One of the things that blesses our church are the five pillars of faith our church is built upon - trust, faith, kindness, liberal giving and compassion,” said Stevenson. “And without the pillar of compassion and care, our church is merely going through the motions.”
He explained that often in church, the focus can be too heavily emphasized on the preaching and teaching of God’s word, the glitz and glamor of our church buildings and the outward appearance of the entire church. “That’s when we literally forget how to care about people,” said Stevenson. He charged that these things must be rooted in a theology of care to be transformative.
To better understand a theology of care, Stevenson outlined three principles that this theology is rooted in. He said, “A theology of care is always rooted in seeing God as the ultimate shepherd and the church having shepherding qualities.”
He continued, “Sheep have poor eyesight, poor eating habits and little strength to defend themselves - sheep need help. If we are going to embrace a theology of care at our churches, it comes with the risk of getting messy with these sheep.”
Stevenson then explained that a theology of care is also rooted in conviction. “This is a conviction to make sure that the sheep are cared for.”
“Lastly, a theology of care is rooted in our compulsion,” said Stevenson. “Compulsion is an irresistible urge to act a certain way. Our care should move us with a burning passion to meet people’s needs.”
Stevenson closed with the reality, “Many of our churches have hurting people in the pews, but the staff isn’t feeling the congregations pain. May our hearts never become so numb that we cease to operate with compassion for people.”
“So get in the game. Get yourself dirty. Take a risk. And remember that when Jesus saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion. May we always be compelled to allow conviction to draw us to care for our sheep.”