Vol 5 No. 43 Building an Intentional Caring Ministry

We are called to love God and neighbours in various and sundry exhortations from Scripture.  As Christians we often hear the dual call of God but mistakenly choose God over neighbour or neighbour over God.  God asks us to choose both.  I John and Matthew 5-7outline the impossibility of splitting the two callings from one another.  My point here is to encourage the re-examination of a false duality challenging our patterns, preferences and imbalances.

My intention is to encourage and introduce the work of Betty Lynn Nylen as a resource that responds to the call of God in the communities in which we live.  Betty Lynn’s story is one of compassion; an incarnational bridge building between faith, church and community.  This story gives us hope and encourages us by Betty Lynn’s willingness to teach and facilitate those of us who wish that kind of input.

Betty Lynn has a unique take on these questions.  See in particular her last paragraph quoting Rob Fitterer.  We will keep the many very different examples of balancing our care for community and the empowering of the latent gifts of our congregations before us in the next months.

I hope you find in this newsletter what we are called to as Christians in this family of believers as Canadian Baptists of Western Canada; a biblical call to reflection and charge but with that exhortation, the absence of guilt.  What we trust in each other is the correction of the conviction of the Holy Spirit not the untidy expectation of humanity.  Finally there is no point in bringing up a challenge unless we also offer each other good, clear and reasonable models for how to engage the issue practically.

Welcome to Betty Lynn Nylen’s story….her invitation and challenge to us all.  (for more information, her contact is: bettythebook@shaw.ca )



In Christ,




  1. How is dedicated Care Ministry different than the general caring done by churches? 

A dedicated Care Ministry is intentional and focused. It has strategic programs that have a multi pronged approach that: 

  • Expands the amount of care given, thus meeting many of the care needs in the congregation 
  • Lessens the care load that has traditionally been seen as the Pastor’s role
  • Can be a powerful outreach tool to the community at large
  • Releases and empowers laity to use their gifts of mercy and compassion
  • Trains and equips volunteers with essential skills to care for others in specific ministries


  1. Why is training your volunteers so important? Why is ongoing support so important?

It has been proven in reports by large organizations such as Syncrude Canada, BHP Billiton, and Durabelt,* just to name a few, that equipping and giving people essential skills to do a job makes people more effective in their work. It has been found to:

  • lessens the turnover of workers
  • gives workers transferable skills to be used in many aspects of their lives
  • improves working relationships etc.


 The same is true for church volunteers. When volunteers are trained it:

  • gives them essential skills 
  • allows them to use the gifts God has given them 
  • gives them confidence and ability
  • gives people joy and a purpose
  • gives them a sense of being part of the bigger picture in ministry.


On -going support is essential to provide: 

  • encouragement and affirmation
  • help with problem solving 
  • a sense of direction so that the ministry and volunteers stay on track with the      

vision and mandate of the ministry

  • further skill development training 


  1. What is the impact on the church community and the community at large when you use Care Ministry as an outreach to the community?

The impact is multi-faceted. People are released to do what God has equipped them to do, wounded people receive love and support in Christ’s name, healing takes place.  Often the people who have received healing and growth, want to give back and become part of the Care Ministry themselves. 

The church becomes known as a safe place in the community.  People watch what Christians are doing— they see the commitment and ability, plus the acceptance and care offered by the church.  They are open to coming to the church for help and hearing about Christ’s love once they have seen it in action.  When you change one life you change many. When one person is helped it impacts families, work places etc. The impact is like throwing a stone in the water-the concentric circles reach out farther and farther into the community. 

 One of the biggest proponents of our Care ministry was a Muslim doctor who referred a great deal of his clients to our support groups. He saw such big changes in his clients who had been through the groups and he was thrilled he had a place to refer them whether they had a faith or not. We established a working relationship with this doctor and a great respect for each other. 

  1. How does the Great Commandment (Mark 12: 29-31) play out in Care Ministry

 “Jesus replied, the most important commandment is this: Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”  

I liked what Dr. Rob Fitterer said in the last Connections about offering “genuine love without an agenda” to university students in their supper program. Before I knew Christ I often felt like a “project” for my Christian friends. Then I experienced love and friendship with no strings attached and I saw Christ in my friend. I knew that was what I wanted–unconditional love and acceptance from her God just like it had been offered to me in person.  I would like the Christians to offer that to all people. Christ’s mandate for us is to learn to love others well, it is His job to save them. Our vision is that people will naturally turn to the church for help because they know what they will receive is love and acceptance in Christ’s name. This happens when people are equipped to do Care Ministry.

*Building Essential Skills in the Workplace Human Resources and Skills Development Canada