RECOGNIZE – THE FIRST STEP OF THE CARING CHURCH RESPONSEMay 09, 2023
The Caring Church Response is the step-by-step process that Hope Made Strong walks churches through to build a sustainable and effective care program. It builds on the strengths of the church, meets the community’s needs, and aligns with the unique mission of the church.
The Caring Church Response helps congregations thrive and equips and strengthens staff and volunteers. Ultimately, because people are cared for, your church and the Kingdom of God grow.
We are going to discuss the first step of the Caring Church Response: Recognize. It’s vital to recognize the strengths and needs of the congregation, the community services and demographics, and the well-being of the staff.
When these three components are assessed you gain a picture of the church’s health, well-being and support needs on which to create your Caring Church Response.
When I bake, I have learned to get out all my ingredients first. I lay them out on the counter and make sure I have everything the recipe requires.
I learned to do this after promising my kids I would make cookies only to realize halfway through that I didn’t have all the ingredients. I would have never started the process or promised them a treat if I knew I didn’t have all the ingredients.
This can also happen within a church’s care ministry. You see a need that you think can be met by a ministry or program in the church only to realize halfway through that you don’t have the resources to fully meet the need.
To those receiving the support, this can feel like getting an oatmeal raisin cookie when they were expecting a chocolate chip. People are disappointed and frustrated, needs are left unmet, and staff are left exhausted and want to throw in the towel.
THE FIRST STEP OF THE CARING CHURCH RESPONSE (RECOGNIZE) IS THE EQUIVALENT OF PUTTING ALL THE INGREDIENTS OUT ON THE COUNTER.
As the church walks out the mission of making God known and developing disciples, there can be challenges. When strong but imperfect people come together to care for others and pursue Christ, there is always a chance of conflict. Those in leadership are also at risk of becoming weary, overwhelmed, and burnt out.
That is why there needs to be a strategy in place in order to care for others effectively. When the proper foundation is laid, you are able to prevent ministry burnout, and no one falls through the cracks.
The Caring Church Response is this strategy. This Response is a 4 step pathway through which your church is able to effectively support those in your community. It will help you utilize your church’s strengths, and create a sustainable caregiving ministry that doesn’t wear out your team.
THE FIRST OF 4 STEPS IS TO RECOGNIZE
Recognizing is taking a step back and reviewing the strengths, needs, and well-being of your church and community.
Your community offers an abundance of resources. Your ability to serve and offer hope and support to those in your church grows exponentially if you tap into the resources and network in your community. Part of the Caring Church Response is to identify your community’s needs as well as the resources and services already within your region. This initial step collects all the information you need to create a care ministry that strengthens your team, and is sustainable and effective.
The goal is to care for those in your church community without burning out your staff. To accomplish this you also want to look into the well-being and skills of those who are doing the work. This could be your pastoral staff, deacons, and/or volunteers. Caring for others is demanding and by gaining insights into your team’s well-being, you are building trust and setting a strong foundation. Skillset, compassion fatigue and burnout are all considered when assessing your team’s well-being. As a leader, you want to strengthen your team, not wear them out. By recognizing where they are at before you develop a care ministry you are laying a strong foundation.
Have you ever heard of the phrase “nothing about us without us”? It’s a term that is used to encourage those who are often targets of discrimination to have a voice in the policies and programs that are created to serve them. It’s a powerful saying that points out that those in power often don’t experience the challenges of those they are making decisions for. It speaks to the fact that those who are impacted by the decisions made should also have a voice in the decision-making process.
Logically, this makes sense. In order to create a ministry or program for people, it is best to know what challenges they are facing and how they would use the service before spending resources.
Recognizing, the first step in the Caring Church Response does just that. It gives you insights on the well-being of your staff and provides you with a customized resource package of your community’s demographics, needs, and resources. Not only that, but it also gives you a dashboard view of how your congregation is flourishing in their faith, relationships, health, vocation and finances. With this information, you are better equipped to build a care ministry that meets the identified needs of your people.
If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But the effort and resources that you put into this will be worth it. Your church will flourish, your staff will thrive, and your church’s impact will grow.
You will have a custom playbook of your church’s next steps in building a sustainable care ministry that meets the needs of your people without burning out your staff.
Here at Hope Made Strong, we offer this Caring Church Response. We provide assessment tools, guided interviews and do the community research for you. Within a few weeks, you will receive a dashboard view of the strengths and needs within your community, congregation, and staff. This allows you to see all the moving parts at once and make decisions on how to care for your staff, strengthen your church, and collaborate with your community.
Working with Hope Made Strong is not necessary to look into these three areas. I encourage those who are not yet in a position to financially invest in this process to at least reflect on the strengths, needs and well-being of these three areas; the caregiver (be that volunteer or staff), your congregation, and the community.
But for those who are interested in this done-for-you Caring Church Review, please connect with me at [email protected] to set up a free discovery call.
Taking time, in the beginning, to recognize and assess where you are at improves your effectiveness. Whether it’s assessing your team’s well-being or the needs of your community, recognition is the first step to creating a Caring Church Response.