chronic illness tools and resources for churches
COMPASSION. INCLUSION. RELATIONSHIP.
Resources created and curated by those who understand the sweeping impact of chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, and disability 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:
COMMUNITY CAN BE CHALLENGING FOR THOSE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS. WHY?
- Churches may not understand the significant challenges associated when affected by chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, and disability.
- 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.
- We might need transportation to meetings.
- Meeting times and places may be difficult due to symptoms, medications, treatments, and/or energy reserves.
- 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 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.
Small Group Roles
This downloadable PDF provides helpful tips for organizing your small group and defining group roles.
Build an Illness Ministry
This practical guide walks you through the first steps toward building a chronic illness small group.
A ministry I support and have benefited from is Chronic Joy. They offer Bible studies, support group materials, and much more for both those with chronic illness and those who serve or care for them. Many congregations have implemented support groups with the tools Chronic Joy provides.
[How Can the Church Better Serve those Suffering from Chronic Illness? Christianity Today]
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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
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, REVTALIZE, 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.
Heather MacLaren Johnson
With this incredible resource you can 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, and build small group communities that thrive.
Hold On to Possibility Everyday
Are you thinking about ending your life? Reach out for support. Are you concerned about a friend or loved one ending his or her life? Ask. Listen. Love.
WELCOME. YOU’RE INVITED.
An invitation to Discover Hope, Find Purpose, Embrace Worth and Encounter Joy. Find awareness tools, community connection and a wide range of faith-based educational resources. (Approx. 2 minutes.)
Don't Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart: How to Relate to Those Who are Suffering
Kenneth C. Haugk, PhD
Haugk has written an essential guide on how to care for and relate to people as they encounter difficult times in life. This 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.
Joy in the Sorrow: How a Thriving Church (and Its Pastor) Learned to Suffer Well
Matt Chandler and Friends
We all wonder how we will cope in times of terrible suffering, and how we can best support others who are suffering. We all ask the question: "How does suffering square with God's character and purpose?" Joy in the Sorrow is Matt's story of his battle with a potentially fatal brain tumor and the stories of those who taught him -- and teach him -- how to walk with joy in sorrow.
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, simply pretending they don't exist. They do exist...
Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, and Other Common Mental Health Conditions
Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness
Matthew S. Stanford
Why has the church struggled in ministering to those with mental illnesses? Each day men and women diagnosed with mental disorders are told they need to pray more and turn from their sin. Mental illness is equated with demonic possession, weak faith, and generational sin. Learn about mental illness from both biblical and scientific perspectives.
Grace for the Children: Finding Hope in the Midst of Child and Adolescent Mental Illness
Matthew S. Stanford
The church's response to child and adolescent mental health disorders has too often been characterized by fear and misinformation rather than grace or wisdom. The result has been families that desperately need practical advice and pastoral care on these disorders and on the thorny issues that surround them.
Creative Ways to Connect
Looking for creative ways to connect with others as you unpack the Chronic Joy studies? This FREE printable does just that and more!