Each of us is responsible for developing the innate characteristics that have been provided by our Creator. Some areas that may be most useful to focus on are listed below.
- Spirituality. The development of our spiritual dimension is unquestionably the single greatest determinant of pastoral effectiveness. As one deeply spiritual chaplain has said, “I want everything I come in contact with to be affected by the presence of God in my life.” This statement lies at the core of the pastoral relationship, especially when interacting with those in crisis and loss.
- Religion. How we connect our spiritual dimension to our religious tradition is another key component of effective coping with the crises that come our way. Religious practices and community can be sustaining during these times.
- Family. Those who have the blessing of a strong nuclear and extended family will be able to draw on these bonds during times of disruption.
- Personal Foundation. One recognized school (Coach University) that trains personal coaches emphasizes the need to develop (in advance) a strong personal foundation. “One can go further with greater ease if one first takes the time to build a strong personal foundation.” In coaching language a personal foundation includes the following.
- Life experience. There is no substitute for having experienced the realities of life’s ups and downs. The more one has experienced in the past, the more one can trust that the current situation will work itself out. Trust generates peace. In Christian terms, if we know God has been with us in the past we can more easily trust that He will be with us in the present and in the future. Philip Yancey has said, “Faith is believing in advance that which will only make sense in reverse.”