1 Corinthians 12:22-26 talks about the value that God has for all the parts, or members, of the body. “…that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.” (vs 25-26 ESV)
This scripture, along with 1 Thessalonians 5:11 where it says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” is the basis of the Caring Church Response.
As leaders, we are often focused on the needs of others. While this isn’t bad, sometimes we miss that leaders are part of the body too.
One of my favourite things about working in a walk-in mental health clinic was that every day was different. In a rural county of 100,000 people, we could see anything from seniors with the beginning stages of dementia to company executives dealing with crippling depression. From those struggling with addictions to children overwhelmed with anxiety.
As clinicians, it was our job to assess, support, advocate, and refer.
I would argue that you, as a church, have a similar mission.
Let me introduce you to The Caring Church Response.
This Response is the pathway in which your church is able to effectively support those in your community, utilize your church’s strengths, and create a sustainable caregiving ministry that doesn’t wear out your staff and volunteers.
Step 1: Recognize
The first and twenty-third verses of Psalms 139 are prayers to God asking Him to search our hearts so that we can be led into the way of the Lord.
In this first step, you are recognizing both the needs of your congregation as well as the levels of fatigue of your staff and volunteers.
Taking time, in the beginning, to recognize and assess where you are at improves your effectiveness. Whether it’s assessing your team’s well-being or the needs of your community, recognition is the first step to creating a Caring Church Response.
Step 2: Restore
Restoration is all about repairing and renovating to bring back the original condition.
As children of God, our original and intended condition is to be more than conquerors, (Romans 8:37) the workmanship of Christ, and created in his image (Eph. 2:10).
Yet, many of our leaders feel worn out and weary. Mathew 11:28-29 tells us that we need to find rest and restoration in Christ. Once the weariness has been recognized, tending to the needs of ministry leaders is vital. As beloved children of God, we are to accept His love and grace in finding rest and being restored.
When those in your congregation come to you they are often in crisis. The challenges they are facing have been brewing for weeks, months or even years. Any attempts they have made to overcome have failed. Their minds may be racing, tempers may be peaking, and the issue at hand feels urgent.
Restoring the mind, which is often no longer thinking logically (to learn more about this… click HERE), is the first step. When supporting others, restoration is about tending to people’s fight, flight, and freeze response so that you are able to then offer the appropriate support and resources.
Step 3: Resource
The challenges people are facing are becoming more and more complex. Often church leaders feel like they don’t have the right skills, tools, or strategies to support people with these complicated issues.
It is vital for sustainability that leaders access resources available to support their staff and volunteer teams in their role as caregivers. Hope Made Strong is one of those resources. We offer training and consulting for churches on how to overcome burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as training lay leaders on effective support skills.
Another key to building a sustainable Care Ministry and supporting your congregation is leveraging your community resources. It’s unrealistic to expect the team to be equipped to support every issue. That’s why it’s essential to partner with specialty organizations within your community or region to appropriately support the comprehensive needs of congregants.
In the guide 3 Steps to Building a Sustainable Care Ministry there is a community resources template to help with your search.
Step 4: Reach
It all comes back to telling people about Jesus. If you can’t identify how a program or ministry in your church furthers the purpose of going and making disciples, then you need to realign.
Bringing people to Jesus repairs the root issue, but like many of us, people continue to struggle with all sorts of challenges even after salvation. I believe that a sustainable care ministry is a part of making disciples.
The Caring Church Response is equipping the local church with strategies, and resources to care for both staff and congregants. It is helping them find freedom from the challenges and struggles that they face.
By caring for staff your ministry will be more effective, and by building a sustainable care ministry your members won’t be able to help but be a light in their community.
Hope Made Strong is here to support you as you create a Caring Church Response. CLICK HERE to find out more about working with Laura and Hope Made Strong.