C.U.R.E. Model for Building a Health Ministry
You can build a health ministry or enhance an existing health ministry that is designed for the particular needs of your congregation. Using the C.U.R.E. model will help you in this process.
STEP 1: CONTACT THE KEY PEOPLE
- When you are ready to begin your health ministry you will want to know who else in your congregation has a “heart for health.” The people who agree to work with you will be your health team.
- Pray about your new Health Ministry. Ask for guidance and the key people who will be faithful and committed.
- Talk with your pastor and ask who has an interest in health or is a health professional. Your health team does not have to have all health professional as its members. You will want to recruit people who are excited about making health changes, who want to know more about living a healthy lifestyle, and are willing to meet once a month to plan activities for your congregation.
- Find people who are excited about their health.
- To find health team members: Post a notice on your church bulletin board and in your bulletin or church newsletter that says:
- Are you interested in improving your health?
- Do you want to help others live the abundant life?
- Do you have a heart for health?
- Contact ____(name)_____________to join our Health Ministry Team!
- Place a notice in your church bulletin explaining what a Health Ministry does, how often the Ministry will meet, and who can be a part of the team: Please join our health ministry team. A Health Ministry Team will:
- Plan health programs for the congregation
- Decide on speakers for health topics selected by congregation
- Place healthy messages in the bulletin
- Hear what health events the congregation wants and help in planning them (Ex: Health Fair, Men or Women’s Health Workshops, Youth Health)
- Report the good news of improved health to the congregation
- Take the idea of your Health Ministry to the congregation through:
- church bulletin
- newsletter bulletin boards
- presentations to groups and committees in the church
- sermons given by the pastor that discuss the connection between spirituality and health
- worship announcements from members of the Health Ministry Team
- Give each member of your Health Ministry Team a copy of the Healthy Congregations Covenant (Appendix B) to read and sign. This is a reminder of the connection between healthy practices and faith beliefs.
- Arrange a four hour, “Power in the Pews” training for your Health Ministry Team.
- After training your Health Ministry Team introduce them to the congregation during worship in a brief ceremony:
- Thank the Health Ministry Team for agreeing to serve in this important ministry.
- Let the congregation know the Health Ministry Team is available to hear their health concerns and suggestions for programs.
- Hand out certificates to the Health Ministry Team. The certificates should read: __(name of Team member)_______has 1) signed a Covenant, 2) completed the “Power in the Pews” training, and 3) agreed to complete one health event for the congregation in the next 90 days.
- Host a fellowship after worship service for the congregation to meet the Health Ministry Team. Be sure your refreshments are healthy. This is an opportunity to be a role model for healthy eating.
- If you already have a health ministry.
- Decide if there are new people you can bring into the Health Team.
- Who is missing that will allow you to reach more of the congregation?
- Do you have a youth or a child representative on the Health Team?
- Is there a health team member who is familiar with mental health or is living with a mental disability?
- Have you included the members who are living with a physical disability or living with a chronic illness who may give direction on how better to serve the members with different disabilities?
- Has someone in the congregation lost a loved one to suicide, HIV/AIDS or violence? Is their perspective represented on the health team?
- Expand your definition of a “health ministry” to include more of the lifestyle issues faced by your congregation.
STEP 2: UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS OF YOUR CONGREGATION
Once you have gotten your health team together, you will want to know what activities, speakers, or programs are of interest to your congregation. In order to know what the congregation wants you have to ask them. Appendix A is a sample Congregational Survey. You can change this survey to make it shorter or to make it more specific to your congregation.
- Pray for the health needs of your congregation.
- revise the Congregational Health Ministry Survey (Appendix A) for your congregation. Decide how long it needs to be. The length of the Survey will determine when you ask the congregation to complete the Survey (during Worship or after Sunday service, Wednesday Bible Study, or after a mid-week meeting).
- Ask for volunteers to read the Surveys and prepare a brief report for the congregation.
- Use the most frequently requested health items as a guide for developing programs and activities for your Health Ministry calendar.
If you already have a health ministry.
- Revise the Congregational Health Survey with information you have learned from your Health Ministry. Ask the congregation what they would like to see added to the Health Ministry.
- Develop 6 to 8 week classes based upon the information gathered from the Surveys. Create a fun name for your health classes. Ex: “Fit for Life”
STEP 3: BUILD RELATIONSHIPS/GATHER RESOURCES
Now that your Health Ministry has 1) selected the Health Ministry Team and 2) determined the needs and concerns of your congregation, Step 3 is creating the programs that will improve the health of all of your members while helping them develop health practices that will last a lifetime.
Building the relationship with the members of your congregation is ongoing.
You are building relationships between the Health Ministry Team and the congregation. The congregation should believe the Health Ministry Team is there for them and cares about their health.
Also you are developing a relationship with community resources who can teach classes, provide brochures and educational materials, and possibly provide funding for your programs through a partnership relationship.
- To build strong relationships between the congregation and the Health Ministry Team keep confidential material private. Ask permission before sharing any health data.
- Visit the Tennessee Department of Health, Faith-Based Initiative, website to find community educators who will come to your congregation and speak on topics from diabetes to HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease to exercise programs
- Post a schedule of Health Events with input from the congregation.
- Publish a Health Updates newsletter.
- Offer a challenge to the congregation. Identify one activity to work on during the week. (trying new vegetable, fruit, whole grain; increasing exercise actions)
If you already have a health ministry.
- You can increase the numbers you reach through your health ministry by forming collaborations with other congregations.
- Become a C.H.A.M.P. congregation. This means Churches Helping And Mentoring Peers. Your church will be added to our website and your health ministry will be shown as one that has made a difference in the lives of your members. Contact the Tennessee Department of Health, Faith-Based Initiative at 615-532-2696 or email us at Faithbased.Initiative@tn.gov for more information on the CHAMP program.
STEP 4: EVALUATE YOUR MINISTRY
You have a successful health ministry. People have changed their lifestyles: improved their eating, exercise 3-4 times a week, stopped smoking, and are making important lifestyle changes that they can maintain for a lifetime. But, how will you know what changes have been made if you don’t keep records.
Evaluate your programs so you will know what works and what programs were not helpful.
Evaluate your programs so you will have results to inspire others to change their lifestyle.
Evaluate your program to have a progress report on your program. If you decide to apply for a grant from a community agency, you will need history of your process and what changes occurred in your congregation.
- Use the simple form, Satisfaction Survey, in Appendix D or create your own tool to get feedback on your programs.