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for starting up a support group (HopeKeepers)
- Proposal Example
you've decided you want to start a HopeKeepers
group but now your church wants a description
of what you plan to do. Time for a proposal
for starting up a support group!
Below is a great example of one woman's
proposal upon which you can build and
adapt to your own situation.
My child, listen to me and do as
I say, and you will have a long,
good life. I will teach you wisdom’s
and lead you in straight paths.
When you walk, you won’t be held
when you run, you won’t stumble.
- Proverbs 4:10-12 New Living Translation
to the Church of _____ committee
Ministries and the HopeKeepers Chronic
Illness/Pain Support Group
Rest Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit Christian
organization that serves people
who live with chronic illness
or pain by providing spiritual,
emotional and practical support.
They are based in San Diego, CA,
founded in 1997, by Lisa Copen,
who lives with rheumatoid arthritis
and fibromyalgia. Lisa has been
active in illness outreach since
she began this ministry at the
age of 27 in a variety of ways
including serving on the Board
of Directors of the Christian
Council on Persons with Disabilities.
Rest Ministries is an affiliate
of Joni and Friends, the international
disability outreach of Joni Eareckson
One of Rest Ministries’ programs is HopeKeepers—a
small group Bible study environment
within the church body and communities.
Over 250 groups are currently
active in the U.S. as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. HopeKeepers is what I want to address with you.
The following is Rest Ministries/HopeKeepers purpose
and statement of faith:
Ministries Purpose Statement
Rest Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit Christian
organization that exists to serve
people who live with chronic illness
or pain, by providing spiritual,
emotional, relational and practical
support. Rest Ministries equips churches in the United States to minister to and with the chronically ill.
Ministries Statement of Faith
• God is the creator and the ruler of the universe.
There is only one, true holy God.
He eternally exists in three personalities:
The Father, The Son, and The Holy
Spirit. These three are co-equal
and are one God.
• Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His is co-equal
with the Father (God). Jesus lived
on earth by a miraculous conception
and virgin birth. He lived a sinless
human life and offered Himself
as the perfect sacrifice for the
sins of all people by dying on
a cross. He arose from the dead
after three days to demonstrate
His power over sin and death.
He ascended to Heaven's glory
and will return again to earth
to reign as King of Kings and
Lord of Lords.
• The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and
the Son of God. He is present
in the world to make people aware
of their need of Jesus Christ.
He also lives in every Christian
from the moment of salvation.
He provides the Christian with
power for living, understanding
of spiritual truth, and guidance
in doing what is right. The Christian
seeks to live under His control
• The sole basis for our belief is the Bible. The
Bible is God's word to all people.
It was written by human authors
under the supernatural guidance
of the Holy Spirit. It is the
supreme source of truth for Christian
beliefs and living. Because it
is inspired by God, the Scriptures
are infallible and inerrant in
the original manuscripts. They
are the final authority on all
matters of faith and practice.
Bcause of the sin of Adam, all have sinned and are
separated from God. The result
is eternal death and separation
from God. Through the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ,
however, we have the gift from
God to all people, Salvation.
We can never make up for our sin
by self-improvement or good works.
Only by trusting in Jesus Christ
as God's offer of forgiveness
can people be saved from sin's
penalty. Eternal life begins the
moment one receives Jesus Christ
into his life by faith.
Ministries Viewpoint on Healing
• We believe that God can and does
heal in our current day. We also
believe, however, that God offers
strength in our weakness and,
at times, allows us to grow spiritually,
although not always comfortably,
by allowing the "thorns"
into our lives, (2 Cor. 12:9).
• We believe that God can heal despite our lack
of faith, if it is his will, therefore,
we are not able to meet a formula
of "praying harder,"
and be guaranteed an outcome of
healing (Mark 6:5,6). Illness
is not necessary a sign that we
have done something wrong (John
9:3) nor that we have "hidden
sin" in our lives, (John
• We caution against worshiping "the idea
of healing" rather than God,
(Exodus 20:3). Although we encourage
people to pray for God's healing,
we also comfort them in their
pain; as we believe that we are
called to comfort others in their
pain, as God has comforted us
in our own (2 Cor.
1:3-5), even when we are still
living with pain in our own.
To my knowledge pastor __(name)___there are no support groups like this in ___(city)___
that deal with this topic of ministry
(chronic illness) with a Christian
perspective, despite the fact
that there is an abundance of
other Christian 12-step programs
or support programs for everything
from drug and alcohol abuse, to
weight loss and divorce recovery.
___(person in the church)____
has been very helpful to me with
suggestions and brain storming
about the HopeKeepers support
I would like to see the_______Church sponsor and keep me accountable to this HopeKeepers support
group for the community of __________________.
I would like to see the HopeKeepers
support group go for a year, then
hopefully the HopeKeepers group
will be able to stand on its own
without the church’s financial
support. However I would ask that
the church still pray on a regular
basis for HopeKeepers.
I have given some thought on maybe the members
of this group donating $ 1.00
- 2.00 for drinks such as tea
or coffee and cookies maybe. These
members would also contribute
$ 6.50 when given a study book, this would refund the _________ and possibly, I hope,
go into a HopeKeepers account.
I would also like to see a board of 3 or 4 people
residing over the HopeKeepers
group in the valley something
like: mysefl; co-leader;
pastor; & ______
I suggest this board would meet once a month or
I would like to see HopeKeepers attract people from the community
that have disabilities and also
people without disabilities that
have chronic illness and/or pain
by flyers and word of mouth.Also I would like to put an ad in the Journal
and Express in the “Ongoings”
which is no charge.These are some places that
we could post flyers:
and community center
the church can think of (for example,
local fitness centers, physical
therapist’s offices, chiropractics
offices, dentists, etc.)
Though some of the above places are
of risky populations I would like
to see HopeKeepers a positive
group focusing on Christ for their
help, thus hopefully avoiding
PITY PARTY gatherings.
HopeKeepers would meet 1 or 2 times per month,
for 2 hours at a time.
Meetings containing something like:
study from our HopeKeepers curriculum
now and then
HopeKeepers I am thinking would meet on Saturdays, unless
the church covering board has
a better idea. I have thought
about my transportation issues
with myself being confined to
this wheelchair (for a short time)
and how I would get to and from
meetings in the winter. This would
and is my biggest obstacle in
I would like some feedback on this issue.I’m proposing the church
provide transportation to pick
people up and drop them off after
the meeting, if they are unable
to make the meeting on their own.I’m currently looking for a volunteer that could
help me with preparing coffee,
etc. and possibly this could be
the same person that helps with
Although holding the meeting somewhere is still
up in the air, I am confidant
that God will open a meeting place.
repare coffee, tea and cookies
Can members smoke if held at the youth building or life church?
What about accessible bathrooms: Is the church’s bathroom
big enough or can a grab-bar be
Program Start up Costs
HopeKeepers start up kit will cost $ 295.00 plus $ 25.00 shipping
and handling fee.
his includes but is not limited to:
materials which include a HopeKeepers
binder filled with materials such
as how to plan a meeting, ice
breakers, articles, drama sketches,
illness descriptions, newsletter
articles for reprint, etc.
presentation of pastor training,
CD-Rom or resources, etc.
bible study books costing $ 6.50
each which the members will reimburse
on how to reach out to others
who are hurting, how to lead small
groups, a 218-page devotional
book, and a Bible study Why Can’t
I Make People Understand.
checklist of various types of
outreach, HopeKeepers poster,
laminated resource sheet
subscription to HopeKeepers
Please see the attached document for details concerning the
start up kit
I would also like to see the HopeKeepers
board give out a starter folder
notebook to take notes
bible study (HopeKeepers book)
A meeting rules sheet
This first year the church will hopefully cover
the start up costs for stuff like
coffee, tea, sugar, paper cups
and plates also napkins for the
cookies.This would probably be
around $40/month. I am proposing
a total yearly budget of $800
for this first year based on a
meeting size of 8-12 people. (This does not include possible transportation
costs of gas).
Meeting structure will go near to this if the board doesn’t
with prayer asking God to open
the minds and hearts of the people
who are there
over the meeting rules each time
feeling and struggles with each
over bible study and share what you
have learned Pass the offering basket
for costs of the refreshments going
back to the church hopefully in a
the class by prayer
I would also like for our group to take on various
small “projects” to help us reach
out to others who are hurting. This
could come as a “care package” from
the group, a card signed by all
of us, providing holiday encouragement
and cheer, etc.
GOALS AND SCHEDULING
if the LifeChurch will sponsor this
out where the meetings will be held
out my transportation needs for
this to work
like early fall of 2006
and RSVPs.Church announcements, newspapers, flyers and word of mouth
a volunteer for helping with preparing
coffee, etc. and possible transportation