When you think of your church’s care ministry does it have an intentional vision, budget, leadership, and a plan?
In many churches, it’s an add-on to a staff person’s job description with no intentional plan, vision, budget, or appointed leader overseeing it.
And I think this is a HUGE missed opportunity for churches.
So in this episode, I’m going to walk through 5 ways you can approach your executive team or board about becoming more intentional about your church’s care ministry.
CLICK HERE to get a downloadable guide outlining Making the case for Care Ministry and offering 5 ways Care Ministry will strengthen your church. Use this to gain buy-in from your board or executive team.
CARE MINISTRY COHORT:
CLICK HERE to register for the next upcoming information session
5 WAYS TO GET LEADERSHIP BUY-IN FOR CARE MINISTRY
1. DEFINING CARE MINISTRY
In my experience, everyone has a different idea of what care ministry is. Some think it’s the casseroles delivered to the sick, or hospital visits, or others think it’s counseling provided by the church, or serving the community. So when you are speaking with leadership about developing or building a care ministry it’s valuable to define what Care Ministry is in your context.
Care ministry is the support provided by the church with the intention of strengthening belonging, purpose, and hope, with the goal of equipping the whole person to flourish.
After 15 years of working as a mental health and addictions counselor as well as working within a walk-in clinic, I have learned that regardless of the struggles the person was facing. Whether it was an executive struggle with cocaine or a homeless individual with mental health concerns. Everyone has three core needs
- To belong to a safe community
- To feel that they are valuable and have a purpose
- To have hope for a better future
Despite your church’s size, budget, or programs you can still provide care if you focus on meeting these 3 core needs. Belonging, Purpose, and Hope.
Your church can’t meet all the needs your community has. It’s impossible. Needs are complex and systemic. And this fact can be a deterrent for leaders in developing a care ministry.
We don’t have enough staff, or volunteers. We don’t have the budget or the space.
The problem can feel too big.
Instead, leaders focus on what they can do well. Serve the guests that come in the doors, and control the lights, camera, and content that is created. Offer small groups with a vetted curriculum.
But the primary function of a care ministry as meeting the core needs of belonging, purpose, and hope. Everything after that, the casseroles, the visits, the counsel is all bonus.
This allows any church of any size to have a care ministry that is intentional and sustainable.
2. FOCUS ON CULTURE, NOT PROGRAMS
I think it’s human nature to see all the challenges first. So when we approach our leadership about investing and becoming intentional about a church care ministry it’s not surprising that their instinct is to see all the barriers.
One of the ways we can create buy-in for a care ministry is to reframe care ministry as a culture rather than the program. It’s less about creating a program that consumes resources like time, money, and people. But it is about building a culture of care and strengthening the resources and ministries that are already existing.
It’s looking at what you already have in place and seeing through the lens of care. Strengthening and equipping these already existing ministries to offer care or to strengthen belonging, purpose and hope with every interaction.
Care Ministry doesn’t have to take a lot of money, but it needs intentionality and a strategy.
3. CARE MINISTRY GROWS THE CHURCH
The primary outcome of a care ministry isn’t to fill seats and increase attendance. However, when you create a community where people feel like they belong, they have value and there is hope,that people naturally want to attend and stay.
Coming to church shifts from something that people should do, to something they crave. It fulfills these internal needs that they have.
When you invest in care there is less of a chance that people will slip through the cracks. Building a culture of care equips your congregation to see and act on opportunities for care. Care is no longer just the pastor’s or staff’s responsibility. But the local church is a community that cares for one another.
And people become invested in the community. They come because they want to and stay because they have a purpose.
Your church will develop a reputation as a place where people are welcomed and cared for.
4. CARE MINISTRY BUILDS DISCIPLES
When I talk about how the care ministry’s goal is to equip the whole person to flourish. I often get feedback that it sounds similar to discipleship. And that’s when I get really excited. They get it!
Discipleship and care are two trains running on parallel tracks.
Discipleship is learning and growing in how to become more like Christ and eventually leading others in this same journey.
Care is learning and growing to be all that Christ created you to be and eventually leading others in this same journey.
Often times we are caring for people as they journey through grief, overcome addiction, and navigate mental health and relationship conflicts.
These can be really difficult life moments where we can lose sight of what and who we are created to be. Care is walking with people through these challenges not losing focus of who God called them to be, and this parallels so well with discipleship, learning how to be more like Christ.
So by investing in care ministry you are also investing in discipleship.
5. CARE MINISTRY BUILDS DISCIPLES
Your local church isn’t equipped with all the tools and resources to support the needs that are presented to your church. So I highly recommend that your church partner with local organizations that you feel confident referring to, to address needs like housing, food insecurity, mental health, financial coaching, etc.
Through these partnerships, your church builds trust with the community and is able to offer more comprehensive support to your people. You don’t have to turn people away who are in need. You can introduce them to a community service that will serve their needs better.
I have seen in my community that after years of consistently partnering with organizations we have built trust. So when there is a community event and there is a need for volunteers our church is now the go-to resource.
Essentially, by partnering with other community organizations your church will become known for its community engagement and will be invited to the table when collaborating on community activities. Allow your church to have influence in your community. And this is all done through care.
So those are the five ways care strengthens the church, and you can use these to speak to your leadership about investing in care.
- Demystifying care
- Build culture
- Grows or strengthens your church
- Build disciples
- Grows your church’s influence
For some listeners, you are well on your way to a care ministry that builds a culture of care in your church, You have community partners and you have systems and strategies to care for your people without burnout your teams. But for many ( or most) of you, a care ministry that is intentional, and strategic seems out of reach.
You know what you want but are not sure how to get there.
You have questions like…
How do I build community partners?
Where do I find care team members,
What do I need to develop a system for ministries like benevolence, pastoral care, prayer requests, and visitation?
You know people are getting missed but creating a system seems overwhelming.
I encourage you to download the 5 benefits of care ministry and check out the Care Ministry Cohort.
The download will help you talk to your executive and/or leadership team and build a case for care Ministry.
The Cohort is a 6-month community that you join with 15 other ministry leaders. We connect weekly for a live call together and walk through building your church’s care ministry. You are given all customizable templates, pathways, and outlines that will give you a jump start on building a care ministry that will effectively care for your church and community without burning out your teams.
For more info and to register for the next Care Ministry Cohort information session
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG
Join the Church Mental Health Facebook Group! In the Facebook group, we chat about how to care for others, and what are your challenges as well as share tons of resources. This is a great community of pastors, clinicians, and those with lived experience and we want to get to know you.