I've been doing some training with people recently on pastoral care. How we do it? Who should do it? and other related questions. What strikes me is how hard we find it to accept that the most pastorally caring thing we can do is teach, apply and re-apply the gospel to peoples lives.
Somehow we seem to have absorbed societies self help culture that says we need to focus on the individual, or deal with each part of the problem. This seems to have at best mortgaged, if not down right robbed us of, our confidence in the gospel. But the gospel understood, applied and enacted is what brings change both in us and in others.