Providing Practical Care

 

How does my small group help someone in our group practically?

 

You may be asking, “What do I do if someone in my group needs practical help? Read-on to get some answers!

  1. Do you have any instructions on how to offer practical care?

Yes.  Here is a worksheet to provide practical care.  Any point person in a group can use this to help coordinate care based on the need of the individual or family (e.g. they family may only require meals and not cleaning help…you can customize the care based on the need). Here is the Providing Practical Care Worksheet.

  1. What is an example of providing practical care?

If someone in your group gets sick, has an emergency situation, or has a loved one die in the family, you can offer to provide them practical care.  Examples of practical care include arranging to have meals delivered, house cleaning done, childcare provided, and transportation arranged.  This are simple ways that provide real care in practical ways and can greatly encourage the person or family going through a difficulty.

  1. Is it ok for my group to provide care instead of the pastor?

Absolutely!  This is actually how God desires for care to be provided.  Helping someone in need that you have a relationship with (vs. someone you don’t know) is what God desires.  The pastor can only know so many people so having small groups with friends who really know each other support each other is the best way to provide care.  You can work with the Leader of your group to confirm your role in helping to coordinate this practical care (its actually better if someone besides the leader helps coordinate the care so that the responsibilities of the group are shared with the members and the Leader doesn’t end up doing everything).

  1. Why doesn’t the church coordinate this type of care centrally through paid staff so we can offer the best care possible vs. having volunteers do this?

God’s desire is for His disciples (you and me!) to be His representative to provide care.  We could provide higher quality care centrally but it would be very limited and not personal/relational.  God’s desire is that we decentralize such care while giving good tools to His body to provide sustainable, far reaching, personal care to folks in our community.  Our church does this by dispersing such care out into smaller groupings of people that either are (or can become) relationally connected with the person or family in need.

  1. Do only small groups provide practical care in this way?

Small groups are the primary way that people will be able to develop significant, life transforming relationships with each other.  However, the principal is not just to have “small groups that meet in living rooms once a week” provide such care.  The idea is to have “smaller groupings” of people provide care so that the person is known and treated as an individual in a personal way.  This works great for folks connected to some friends and also works to lay the ground work for someone to end up getting connected if they already aren’t (e.g. if someone is new to the church they might not yet be in a small group but if a smaller group like a Sunday School Class provides such care, it is very likely that the person receiving care will get to know these folks over the long term and build friendships with them)?  So ANY smaller grouping of people like home small groups, discussion table groups that meet on-campus, Sunday School classes, ministry teams, etc…are great for helping someone needing practical care.

  1. Where can I get contact information for my home small group, Sunday School class, table discussion group, or ministry team?

Each smaller grouping of people like this has a Leader in place.  The Leader would be the person to provide this information.  If the Leader is the one needing care, then the Leader’s Coach (supervisor of the Leader – each Leader has an assigned Coach) can obtain this information and give it to you.  If the Leader and Coach are not able to provide this information for some reason, you can contact the Church’s Care Coordinator at the church office can provide this information)

  1. What if no one signs up to help?

Remember that your willingness to help coordinate care is just that.  You are not responsible for “making sure people sign-up”.  Prayerfully encourage people to participate by letting them know of the ways they can help and how to contact the person in need to provide the care.  If you are concerned that needs will not be met for some reason by the group, contact your group Leader and discuss this (if the Leader is the one in need, contact the Leader’s Coach, if the Coach is not available for some reason, contact the Church’s Care Coordinator).  You should rarely, if ever need to do this.  Most people will step up to serve and help knowing that their friend is in need or that their group is being called to reach out to someone in need.

  1. What about costs associated with provided care (e.g. meal costs)?

The desire is that people will offer to serve as they feel God leading them.  This includes their willingness to cover any associated costs (e.g. pay for the meal they bring).  If an exceptional situation arises that you think might need broader support and/or resources from others in the church, contact your group Leader and discuss this (if the Leader is the one in need, contact the Leader’s Coach, if the Coach is not available for some reason, contact the Church’s Care Coordinator).  You should rarely, if ever need to do this.  Most people will step up to serve and help knowing that their friend is in need or that their group is being called to reach out to someone in need.

  1. Is there someone at the church I should let know who is coordinating care for a need like this?

Make sure your Leader is aware, of course. You can also send the Church’s Care Coordinator contact information for the church office to give out in the event someone calls in wanting to help (see #1 above with the worksheet to show what contact information is needed).