By CTA-Christ to All
Care ministry can happen nearly anytime in any place. When people need guidance or are hurting, they turn to someone they trust. And while pastors and care ministers are certainly trustworthy, congregation members may first approach a staff member with their concerns. Because we cannot predict when or where or how someone might need Christian care, it is crucial that your entire staff is empowered to provide care and is equipped with the care ministry tools they need to show Christ’s love to others.
Even if your church has a dedicated care minister or even a professional counselor on staff, a congregation member may first approach another staff member with whom they have a closer relationship. For example, a high-school student may first confide in the youth pastor. The children’s minister might be the first point of contact for a young parent who lost his or her job or has become the primary caretaker for an elderly family member.
Your staff should feel empowered to meet people in need where they are. Staff should feel empowered to pray with, listen to, and empathize with anyone who needs care. People experiencing hard times feel vulnerable and want to speak to someone they have a relationship with and whom they trust.
In addition to empowering your staff, you want to equip them. Staff members want to help people, but they may not know what to say or do. The right care ministry tools give staff confidence and can be an encouragement long after the person needing care has gone home.
Care Ministry Tools to Equip Your Staff
One of the ways you can help your staff feel confident in providing care is by making sure they have care ministry tools. Physical reminders and small gifts are great sources of encouragement to those who are hurting. To provide the most benefit, make sure those tools are need specific, age appropriate and based in the good news of the Gospel.
Prayer and Scripture are two powerful tools in our tool belts. After listening to and praying with someone, staff members can give that person take-home reminders of God’s love for him or her. are available in a variety of topics including Bible verses about wisdom, joy, and God’s promises and are tangible reminders of Christ’s presence.
People in crisis and those experiencing upheaval in their lives need hope. They need to know that hope in Jesus does not disappoint. To that end, have a few varied versions of Scripture-based books on hand and give them out freely to anyone who could use ongoing encouragement.
It’s not just adults that go through difficult times. Children also experience grief, loss, and uncertainty. Their experiences are often compounded by the fact that they are children and do not fully understand what is happening or why. In these times, children need to know that no matter what happens to or with the grown-ups in their lives, Jesus will always love them and provide for them. Care ministry tools that speak to the needs of children should be available at your church for kids who need them.
Sometimes the best care ministry tool is a small reminder of God’s presence and care that can go anywhere. Such items, like , can be carried in a pocket or a purse or put in a cupholder or on a work desk. Anxiety, worry, and grief can strike when people least expect it. Having a touchstone at the ready is a source of comfort.
Care Ministry Training
One of the best care ministry tools you can give your staff is training. The training does not need to be exhaustive. Rather, you can make sure all staff members know who to call to refer a person to a higher level of care. In addition, staff should know about local- and state-mandated reporting requirements.
Allow your care ministry to share with the rest of the staff any of your processes and procedures. More importantly, let your care ministry team share their experiences and stories. What works? How do you respond when someone approaches you for care? What do you say?
Formal training may also be available in your area or through your church body or denomination. Encourage all staff to equip themselves with tools and ideas that will allow them to best care for those in need.
God’s people need care, and we are called upon to provide it. Whether in an official capacity or casually engaging with someone to give that person encouragement and hope, care ministry tools give staff confidence to empathize with hurting people and share the hope that is ours in Jesus, who is our loving, caring Good Shepherd.
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