chronic illness tools and resources for churches


 COMPASSION. INCLUSION. RELATIONSHIP. Resources created and curated by those who understand the sweeping impact of chronic physical and mental illness on every aspect of life. Vital, practical, Christ-centered, and inclusive. Together, we are the Body of Christ on earth.


It all begins with God and the decision to follow Him. For Chronic Joy, that includes a clear Statement of Faith.

In addition to our personal relationship with God, we were created for relationship with one another. Community spurs us on, encouraging and inspiring us. It’s where we care for each other and help one another up.

It takes time for churches and organizations to flesh out chronic illness ministries within their walls. And it takes people willing to lead even when we don’t feel well, which is why we’ve created streamlined and easy-to-use tools and resources. Before we even wrote our first book, we developed resources to make this process easier:

Build An Illness Ministry
Small Group Policy
Small Group Roles

Community can be challenging for those with chronic illness. Why?

  • Churches may not understand the significant challenges associated with chronic physical and/or mental illness.
  • They may not recognize our needs when we don’t look sick.
  • They may not yet know how to “do” community for those affected by chronic illness, or how to flesh out small groups in creative ways.
  • Meeting times and places may be difficult due to symptoms, medications, treatments, and/or energy reserves.
  • We might need transportation to meetings.
  • We might need financial assistance to purchase materials.
  • We might need wheelchair access to bathrooms, elevators, and classrooms.

These hurdles and so many more make traditional community challenging, yet we were made for community, so where does that leave us?

Let’s begin to broaden the vision for community. There are many creative options available today, tools like Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype. With God at the center, community can creatively thrive.

Because community is important to God, it’s important to Chronic Joy Ministry too. That’s why we’ve published the first three books in the Chronic Joy Thrive study series, the first book in our Abide study series, as well as a companion resource for small group leaders.

Our hearts’ desire is for small group communities to develop, grow, and thrive.


Partnering with Chronic Joy®


Our Licensing Agreement provides the framework for churches and organizations to launch Chronic Joy programs for those affected by chronic physical and/or mental illness. Taking this important step opens the door to community and invites people to discover hope, find purpose, embrace worth and encounter God’s indescribable joy as they learn to do life together.

Are you interested in starting a small group or a chronic illness ministry in your church?

Contact us:

“Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.” Henri Nouwen



DISCOVERING HOPE: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness


This 10-chapter study invites participants to experience radical hope and compassionate change in a life with chronic illness.

No matter how dark the days, how wild the storm, how deep the valley, or how long the winter, there is hope.

There is always hope.


FINDING PURPOSE: Rediscovering Meaning in a Life with Chronic Illness


What if purpose looks different than we believe?

This 10-chapter study invites participants to release cultural and traditional definitions of purpose, and instead, to embrace God’s – a timeless definition rooted in His Word and as refreshing as a gentle spring rain.


EMBRACING WORTH: Understanding Your Value in a Life with Chronic Illness


This 10-chapter study powerfully reminds us that our value isn’t found in what we can or cannot do, but in Christ alone. Regardless of what we’ve lost through chronic illness, this isn’t the end of our story, for in spite of our circumstances, in the midst of the hard, when we’re not sure we can take even one more breath, God is still good.



I TAKE YOU IN SICKNESS & IN HEALTH: Marriage with Chronic Illness

Rejuvenate, Revitalize, Rekindle and Reconnect

This insightful and enriching 10-chapter study, designed just for couples, offers you and your spouse a safe place to grieve, heal, grow, and begin to dream together again – to thrive as one – in sickness and in health.



GRACE, TRUTH & TIME: Facilitating Thriving Small Groups

GRACE, TRUTH & TIME is a valuable resource for leaders. Learn to lead through God’s grace; create a space for spiritual growth and healing; empathize, listen and engage with those in pain; grow in prayer and compassion; foster hope and encouragement; build small group communities that thrive.


Additional Resources

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission

Amy Simpson

Mental illness is the sort of thing we don’t like to talk about. It doesn’t reduce nicely to simple solutions and happy outcomes. So instead, too often we reduce people who are mentally ill to caricatures and ghosts, and simply pretend they don’t exist. They do exist…


Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults

Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, and Other Common Mental Health Conditions

Stephen Grcevich

The church across North America has struggled to minister effectively with children, teens, and adults with common mental health conditions and their families. One reason for the lack of ministry is the absence of a widely accepted model for mental health outreach and inclusion.


Don't Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart: How to Relate to Those Who are Suffering

Kenneth C. Haugk, PhD

Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart is an essential guide on how to care for and relate to people as they encounter difficult times in life. Forged from author’s own experiences of suffering, the book draws on extensive research of those who have experienced various kinds of suffering in their lives, offering key insights and suggestions of what to say and do—and what not to say or do—when people are hurting.

With its biblical foundation, compassionate approach, and concrete ideas, this book will help you bring God’s loving presence to hurting people when they need it most.




Looking for creative ways to connect with others as you unpack the Chronic Joy studies? This FREE printable does just that! Click here for Creative Ways to Use Our Studies.


This downloadable PDF provides helpful tips for organizing your small group and defining group roles. SMALL GROUP ROLES


This practical guide walks you through the first steps toward building a chronic illness small group in your church or organization. BUILD AN ILLNESS MINISTRY


This useful tool provides a framework for grace and peace in chronic illness small groups. SMALL GROUP POLICY


Chronic illness can make serving in traditional or culturally familiar ways more challenging, but not impossible. We invite you to discover creative new ways to love God and love others right where you are, however you are able. CREATIVE WAYS TO SERVE


Looking for outstanding, FREE, faith-based images for your church, organization, small group, or social media? We have 1000s licensed for immediate, high-res download. Quick, easy, and comprehensive. FREE FLICKR IMAGES


Even More


TED TALK – Simon Sinek has a simple, but powerful model for inspirational leadership – starting with a golden circle and the question: “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Wright brothers. Watch HERE.


TED Talk – We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives. Watch HERE.

Thrive in a life with chronic illness.

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