Assessing what the needs and gifts of your congregation and community are and discerning how to move forward is one of the key steps for starting a health program. When we take time to observe and listen to the life experience of our members and those in the communities we serve, it becomes more clear what God is calling us to do.
There are many formal ways to do an assessment, both of what the needs are and also of what is alive and strong. See the tools listed below. But there are many simple things you can do that don’t take any special training, skills or tools. Here are some ideas that came up in a recent workshop on developing a health ministry or council:
- Listen to the requests for prayer and support that are shared;
- Just ask people–How are you doing?– and listen to what they say;
- Be alert to good news and what is behind it;
- Walk the neighborhood and pay attention to who and what is there–both the challenges and the beauty;
- Ask people: What do you see around you (in the congregation or community)? What changes do you want to see?
- Look for patterns. What do we tend to do by habit and what can we begin to be more intentional about?
- Prayer–asking for God’s voice to speak to us and guide us.
Below are some tools and templates that you can use.