The effectiveness of pastoral counselling in the management of HIV/AIDS in the church in Malawi: a case of the church of the Nazarene, Malawi Central District
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This study was conducted within the Church of the Nazarene, Malawi Central District. The study sought to investigate the effectiveness of pastoral counselling in the management of HIV/AIDS in the church. The objectives of the study were to establish the role of pastors concern for members welfare in effective management of HIV/AIDS; to assess the role of pastors social skills in HIV/AIDS management; to examine the role of pastors training (technical skills) in HIV/AIDS; and to determine the role of pastors partnership with other service providers in the management of HIV/AIDS in the church in Malawi. The study hoped to find out whether pastoral counselling to people living with HIV/AIDS or the affected is helping members to cope with the pressures of illness or caring for an ill family member. The study hinged on the understanding that pastoral counselling is a function of pastoral ministry and is effective when an integrated approach is used. A descriptive survey research design was implemented. The validity and reliability of research instruments was ensured through pilot testing and a test-retest method and scrutiny by supervisors. Nonprobability sampling was used to select the 385 participants required according to Taros formula. Questionnaires, focus groups, and personal interviews were used to gather data. The researcher and research assistants visited churches to hand out and explain questionnaires. In addition the researcher personally conducted interviews of some pastors, laity, and educators as well as facilitated focus group discussions. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS and presented using tables, charts, and narration. The study found out that pastoral counselling of PLWHA and the affected is hardly taking place despite the overwhelming agreement that pastoral counselling is of great benefit. In addition the study established that only the use of the Bible is encouraged for counselling. The study therefore recommends that a course of study be introduced at NTCCA that specifically targets HIV/AIDS and other health issues as a way to equip pastors to minister effectively to infected church members and their families. It is also recommended that pastors be introduced to an integrative approach to counselling in order to be able to be holistic in the healing process. The findings of this study will be beneficial to pastors and their congregations in the CON, MCD, and beyond as well as the government and nation at large.
Africa Nazarene University