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Ministering to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes

Mar 5, 2008
Rest Ministries, founded in 1997, is the largest Christian organization that serves the chronically ill. They recently did a survey and asked people to "List some of the programs or resources a church could offer to make it more inviting comfortable." Below is a sampling of some of the 800+ responses, all of which could be done in 20 minutes or less.

1. Encouragement emails.

2. Make sure the handicapped stalls in the restroom are functioning and clean.

3. Add padded chairs or cushions to make church easier to sit through. Room for wheelchairs is always a need and don't forget to include extra places for family members.

4. An open attitude for a support group like HopeKeepers. It would make me feel very special that there was an understanding of needs that are not always visible.

5. More disabled parking, even if they are temporary spots.

6. Educate the ushers that people arriving late may have difficulty walking or getting out of cars and will need some assistance.

7. Ask volunteers to call people with chronic illness just to check on them when they don't make it to services.

8. When suppers are given, recognize that I may need help getting my meal--or at least understand that I won't be able to wait in a long line.

9. Be cautious when giving people big hugs. It can topple over or hurt the person.

10. Video tape of the service for DVD, don't just do a live web cast. My computer doesn't work that well.

11. Check out the church doors. Can someone with an illness open them with ease? If not, install a mechanical button to push them open.

12. Stop telling me that if I really believed and had faith I would be healed by now. Please don't insist how good I look, because I know for a fact that I look terrible and miserable that day.

13. Offer ways to serve within the church that can be performed regularly, but not on a set schedule so that I can still contribute, but there's enough flexibility that I can do the job when I feel well enough to do so.

14. Provide sermon notes in case I can't make it to the worship service and want to listen/take notes later.

15. Acknowledge National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Rest Ministries has a nice book list of top 100 Christian books for the chronically ill. It would make a nice display in our bookstore that week.

16. Just mention about chronic illness! Talk about it in sermons as one of the challenges many people face just like unemployment.

17. Let me know about Christian volunteers from church that will clean house for small fee. Some have offered to clean my house, but I am not able to accept charity yet, but neither can I afford to pay a regular house cleaning service.

18. Help even a fraction with the cost of encouraging books and resources for the church library for the chronically ill.

19. Remember how many caregivers are in the church, not just caregiving for their parents, but also for their spouses or ill children.

20. Have copies for free of the sermon on CD.
About the Author
Get a free list of 200 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend from "Beyond Casseroles" by Lisa Copen, just signup for to HopeNotes invisible illness ezine at Rest Ministries. Lisa founded of Invisible Illness Week
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