Steps to Beginning a Health Ministry
1. Explore the Possibilities
- Learn all you can. Read and talk to others who have a Health Ministry.
- Talk with clergy and church leaders.
- Pray for God’s direction for your congregation.
2. Assess your Current Situation
- What programs already exist in your church related to health and wholeness?
- Gather the leaders of those programs together with any health professionals or others in your congregation who are interested in health. What is the interest and what are the concerns?
- Review the church’s Mission and Vision. How does health ministry fit in?
- What does the congregation understand about the relationship between faith and health? Start to make them aware by providing displays on bulletin boards, articles in the newsletter, sermons about spirituality and health etc.
- Pray some more.
3. How would you Structure it in your Congregation?
- Will you have a Health Committee? Who will lead it?
- Will you have a Faith Community Nurse?
- Will Health Ministry be under the direction of the pastor or a Church Leadership Council?
- What will the financial needs be?
- Pray some more.
4. Organize a Health Committee/Cabinet/Team
- Ask a diverse group that will represent different parts of the congregation–age, gender, marital status, medical and non-medical. Who is passionate about health?
- Survey members of the congregation about health needs and concerns. What does the congregation believe are its strengths and weaknesses? What does the congregation believe are the opportunities and what are the perceived threats to health and wholeness?
- Prioritize needs.
- Pray for guidance.
5. Create a Vision and Make it Real!
- Decide what areas to begin to work on. Do not duplicate existing programs.
- Set Goals. How will you measure your progress?
- Determine what resources are available inside and outside of the congregation. Recruit volunteers who can use their gifts. Some will feel “called” to help.
- Work with church leadership on a budget and funding.
- Create job descriptions. Recruit and train Faith Community Nurses and/or other Ministers of Health.
- Have a dedication ceremony during the regular worship service. This validates the work of the health ministry and raises the awareness of the congregation to this important ministry of the church.
- Communicate continually with the congregation and community about the activities of the Health Ministry.
- Pray for wholeness and peace. Enjoy the journey!
11/08 Based on “A Guide to Developing a Health Ministry” by the Health Ministries Association, 2002