“It’s impossible overstate the importance of providing excellent care in a local church. The Caring Congregation Ministry offers the very best program for training laity in congregational care. This book provides a step-by-step guide for implementing the program in any size congregation.” 

—Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS

The Caring Congregation Ministry Guides

By Karen Lampe and Melissa Collier Gepford


Pastors and church leaders genuinely want to care for people in their congregations and communities. But pastors cannot care for an entire church, and most laypersons don't have the training to do it. The Caring Congregation Ministry is a model for person-to-person care that's been proven to work in small and large churches across the U.S. It is a laity-centered ministry, where laypersons receive rigorous training and then are commissioned to serve as Congregational Care Ministers, caring for others in their own congregation and their extended community.

This remarkable approach to congregational care was first developed by author Karen Lampe and her team at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, in Kansas City. It has been tested, refined, and strengthened, and is now being adapted in all sorts of congregational settings. One early adapter was co-author Melissa Collier Gepford, who launched a Caring Congregation Ministry in her own rural church. Together, they have created this immensely practical guide for any pastor or leader seeking to create a congregational care ministry.




The Implementation Guide is the main book for getting started. It introduces the ministry model and explains the Five Essentials which form the ministry's foundation. It is extremely practical, full of checklists and other tools to help pastors and other leaders understand (and explain) this way of providing congregational care.

The Implementation Guide also includes a section focused on the crucial component of this ministry–the Congregational Care Minister, or CCM. This section fully describes the characteristics of CCM's, how to recruit people to this ministry, how to discern if candidates are a good fit, and how to conduct the CCM training over a multi-week period. It details the critical information CCM's must know, and the behaviors and habits they must practice in order to be effective.




The Care Minister's Manual is the personal training workbook and reference guide for Congregational Care Ministers (CCM's), who serve a central role in the Caring Congregation Ministry. CCM's receive in-depth training, where they learn the theological foundations of congregational care, plus the behaviors, habits, and practices they will need to follow in order to serve others well. Each CCM-in-training should have a copy of this Manual. It serves as their training workbook, which then becomes the CCM's personal reference guide.



Insights from the authors on the Caring Congregation Ministry training and resources


Melissa Collier Gepford, co-author of The Caring Congregation Ministry books, shares more about the books and how to use them.

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What will a reader/participant get from The Caring Congregation Ministry training and books?

Jesus was a healer, and we believe that the healing ministry of the church embodies the heart of the church. These books outline an umbrella of Christ-like care, whereby the pastors and volunteers link arms to provide the very best of care addressing every type of human situation. Through our books, webinars and seminars we offer training to create care teams that will address the complex needs of the world.  

How do you use the books together and/or separately?

Every participant needs a copy of both The Caring Congregation Ministry Implementation Guide and The Care Minister’s Manual. Think of the Implementation Guide as the main course: it provides the details on how to do the ministry of care with chapters on theology, prayer, boundaries, spiritual guidance, visitation and death/dying/grief follow-up, plus five chapters on how to organize your ministry! We also have chapters on mental illness, recovery, communal trauma, and crisis care. Think of the Care Minister’s Manual as a snack: it is your practical day-to-day text that you'll reference when caring for people in real-time situations. Specific talking points, scriptures, resources and prayers are included to help the care minister feel confident when providing care on behalf of the church.   

How can churches reemerge from the difficult year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?  

This past year certainly has given us greater understanding of the importance of care ministries as illness, social isolation, and heightened tensions increased our fears and anxiety. We realize that excellent care ministries are essential for the church to be at its best, and as churches begin to worship more in-person, now is the time to evaluate your care ministries! We must be ready to help people as they process this year of grief and loss, and then in so many ways help them rise and shine into a new day. The church has a great opportunity to do the healing ministry of Christ, and The Caring Congregation offers a nimble and innovative approach to embody that healing ministry!

More praise for The Caring Congregation Ministry Guides

The Caring Congregation Ministry . . .

“ . . . makes it possible to implement a well-rounded, theologically sound, customizable system of care.”

- Joy Dister-Dominguez, pastor, Arlington Heights UMC, Fort Worth, TX


“. . . ignited a fire in our congregation and empowered the laity to serve. This is one of the most effective and essential tools for any church.”

- Monica Childers, associate pastor and minister of adult leadership development, St. Luke’s UMC, Hickory, NC

Read Chapter 1 of the Implementation Guide

Karen Lampe

Karen Lampe is the former Executive Pastor of Congregational care at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS. She developed and launched the CCM program at Resurrection. She is a full time consultant, helping other churches develop programs to care for their congregations.

Melissa Collier Gepford

Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford is the Intergenerational Discipleship Coordinator of the Great Plains Conference, in which she helps congregations establish healthy discipleship systems. She grew up in East Texas and graduated from Perkins School of Theology, and as an ordained deacon, she connects church people to the world. Melissa is a writer, speaker, and resource curator. She enjoys drinking good coffee, working out, and testing her semi-green thumb. Melissa and her husband Bill enjoy dancing when they can and love playing with their son, Finnegan.