Published February 2021
Pastors and congregations everywhere yearn to care for others, especially those who are suffering from loss or pain of any kind. But pastors cannot care for an entire church, and laity typically don't have the training to do it. The Caring Congregation Ministry is a model for ministry 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 one another, for their own congregation.
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 Gepford, who launched a Caring Congregation Ministry in her own rural church. Karen and Melissa have partnered to share this immensely practical guide for any pastor or leader seeking to create a version of this ministry in their own church.
This 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.
Note that the companion book, The Caring Congregation Ministry: Care Minister's Manual, is required for the CCM training. It serves as a training workbook, which then becomes the CCM's personal reference manual.
The Implementation Guide closes with thoughtful and immediately helpful chapters full of information on situations involving special care, including personal crisis and trauma, community trauma, mental illness, recovery/addiction, and important considerations for doing this ministry in times of social distancing.
This book provides everything necessary in order for any church of any size or denomination, to build, launch, and sustain a congregational care ministry.