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In: The Concept of Religion

In the ‘crisis of ministry’ alternatives are considered to a worldview-based spiritual positioning of spiritual caregivers. One of the concepts in this discussion is that of spiritual competence. We addressed the question: what are the attitudes of spiritual caregivers (and their educators) towards ministry and spiritual competence? In terms of the volume the question is: to what extent does a specific denominational concept such as ministry still relate to religion as it is lived in contemporary society, more specifically in healthcare systems?

Ministry we defined as worldview representation in public and semi-public settings. There is a tension between representation and communication of religion, or, between authorisation and competence in the role of the minister. Quantitative empirical research clarified that spiritual caregivers regard the ministry positively. But they doubt their representation task, and have a multiple worldview orientation towards communication.

Spiritual competence can be situated on the level of the person, professional practice, professional identity and legitimation. This analysis can be related to, e.g. the competence profile of medical specialists and praxis-oriented models of spiritual care. Semi-structured interviews with educators of spiritual caregivers put forward a balance in personal and professional spirituality, the role of reflexivity and some basic —, core — and heuristic competencies.

Spiritual competence is at the core of the identity of spiritual care. Further research should reveal the extent to which this concept is an umbrella term, an alternative or even a substitute for ministry, conceptually and organisationally.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology