Care is essential to any growing ministry.

English: A specialist cardiology stethoscope.

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It’s important that as a church we show up for people when they are hurting, mourning, sick and celebrating.  There is no better time to have an impact on someones life or family than being there for them during these times of change.  Often it’s not even a matter of what you do to provide care, it’s just the fact that you show up and are there during this time in their life.  People need to know that they’re not ‘doing life’ alone.  Showing up during a time of need conveys the message that “We’re here with you and we’ll go through this together.”

Below is a breakdown of some simple Care Ministry Guidelines that I have developed and found useful in helping people minister.  I’ve also found that instead of creating an entirely separate care ministry for this that it works well within an existing ministry that the whole of the church is involved in.  We do this through our small groups system and have found it to be very effective.

Group Care Ministry Overview:

The purpose of this ministry is to provide genuine heart-felt care to the people of Oasis during both times of celebration and trials of life.

  • We learn about a need in someone’s life either by conversation with someone in the church or through our communications cards on Sunday Morning.  Additionally, ministry team leaders may discover additional care needs by working with their teams.
  • Care needs will be met through groups.  The care plan provided will run through the duration of groups and through sign up of the next round of groups (up until they launch again).
  • Often times group leaders will either know or become aware of a care need from the group.  They may also find out about a care need from their Coach.  Once this need is known, the following can be a basic guideline for the needed response.
  • Church Staff may respond to care needs.  This will be determined at each instance, but would not take the place of the Group caring for the need.

Group Care Ministry Action Plan:


1 Illness that is temporarily debilitating Notify Group of current need
  • Provide Food according to plan and needs
Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
Phone call
2 Hospital Stay Notify Group of current need
  • Set up Visit by member(s) of group
  • Take Care Package
  • Identify Needs during visit
Church Staff Response
  • To Be Determined at each instance
3 Upon Return from Hospital Notify Group of current need
  • Provide Food according to plan and needs
  • Identify Needs during visit
Send Card/Letter from Group Leader
Phone Call
4 Death within household Notify Group of current need
  • Line up food to be provided
  • Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
  • Phone Call
Church Staff Response
  • Pastor Visit & Counseling provided as needed
  • Attend Funeral
5 Death of Parent Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
Phone Call
If possible have at least one member of group attend funeral.  Also one member of the church staff will likely attend the funeral.
6 Layoff/Job Loss Notify Group of current need
  • Provide at least one meal to household
Phone call from Group Leader
Send Card/Letter from Group or Group Leader
7 Financial Problems Alert Pastors to this need
8 Marital Problems Alert Pastors to this need

Food Provision Plan:

  • Food is provided to help alleviate a portion the pressure of daily needs during this time.  This is an opportunity to meet a basic need.
  • Typical length of food provision is one week or less.  (If it is seen to be necessary to provide for a longer period, discuss with your Group Coach before proceeding.)
  • For one time provision, you can have different members of the team provide different portions (i.e. sides, deserts, main dish, etc.)
  • For longer provision, break your team into nights and assign accordingly.  You may find it helpful to provide on an every other night basis. (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday)  This would allow your team to provide only 3 larger meals and leftovers could be used on other nights.
  • You may also consider paper product needs (i.e. paper plates, cups, etc.)

Hospital Care Package (Contains):

  • Can be a snack, inspirational book, crossword or puzzle book, etc…

If you are in the process of developing a care ministry, I’ve discovered that simpler is often best.  Don’t over complicate this process of care or you could plan the “care” right out of your system.  My prayer is that this post is useful as you develop your ministry.


About John Herring

I've been in ministry for almost 20 years. In that time, I have had the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles including, Student and Children's Pastor, Worship and Media Pastor, Education/Small Groups Pastor, Associate Pastor, Church Administrator, Missions Pastor and 'other duties as assigned' Pastor. Many of these have been within the same church and I have had the opportunity to see a variety of changes and transitions in ministry over the past 20 years. I enjoy coaching, consulting, mentoring and investing in leaders to see them become who it is God created them to be. As I do all of these, I am also in transition from where God had me to where He is taking me and enjoying learning more about Him in the journey. I am blessed to have been married to a beautiful godly woman, Alisha, for 11 years and have 2 amazing kids. I continue to learn more about them, myself and God every day. View all posts by John Herring

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