Recently I heard a pastor say that the church isn’t a crisis center. While I understand where they were coming from, because their church isn’t equipped to serve in that capacity, most ministry leaders don’t realize that churches are often the number one front-line mental health resource for their members.
With 1 in 5 people in North America impacted by mental illness1 and millions more struggling with addiction, relationship issues, and stress, the church is often the first stop in finding support and help.
We were created to be in relationship, both with God and with one another. The Bible says It’s not good that man is alone. A core human need is to belong – we all crave it. We are called, and even commanded, to go and make disciples.
All of these – relationship, belonging, and discipleship – point to being in a community, or being tethered together. But let’s be honest, we are all broken people trying to navigate this world and striving to be more like Jesus.
As people we are all on a journey to overcome. Whether it’s anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety, depression, insecurities, selfishness, etc., each one of us is imperfect, serving a perfect God.
So what is the role of the church in creating and supporting a community of, making disciples of, and being in relationship with imperfect people?
I feel that caring for people in a holistic way is part of supporting the discipleship journey. While the church may not have the expertise that the behavioural health system does, people are still looking to the church for support.
This is why people care at your church matters.
In the past year churches have transitioned from in-person to online services and back again. We have been forced to make huge shifts in our mindset. We’ve had to reallocate people and financial resources to allow the community to hear the message and engage in church online.
But…spoiler alert…the shifting has not stopped.
The church is about to face its next challenge. As we begin to re-engage with church, and the church community, in person, people are coming out of their isolation broken. They’re dealing with relationship conflicts, anxiety, depression, addiction, and reeling from deep grief and trauma. As a first responder, your community is looking to you for support.
Now is the time to look at your care ministry and see if you are prepared to support your community’s needs because, ready or not, here they come.
The pastoral staff are a key component to that support, but they will quickly be overrun and experience compassion fatigue if they are the sole resource for those suffering. It’s necessary to have a care team and an intentional care plan for those who are looking to your church for support.
For a limited time I’m offering a free guide on building a sustainable care ministry in your church.
When you provide pastoral support to those in need, it’s important that you have a team of people behind you.
You can create an effective care ministry by learning how to build a sustainable program in 3 steps:
1. Leveraging community resources,
2. Building a volunteer care team, and
3. Developing a training strategy.
Each of these steps is outlined in the guide and includes a community resources template to help with your search and record their contact and program information.
Your church is strategically positioned in the neighbourhoods of your community. As people find freedom and support, your church’s light and witness will grow. You will become known as a place where broken people can find healing, those who are struggling can find grace, and the unlovable can find hope.
The kingdom of God will grow because your church will be a place where people find support, are connected to necessary resources, and overcome the suffering and struggles of life. Hope Made Strong is here to help you on your caregiving journey. So grab that free guide for building a sustainable care ministry, and begin to build an intentional plan that allows you to care for those who are looking to the church for support. Let’s build the kingdom of God together.