I asked Pastor Jeff Bartz if he would be willing to share a multi-part series that discussed the Counseling Ministry that is developing here at Grace along with recapping the series he preached on the need for counseling in the church and by the church this past summer. He was more than eager to oblige. Over the course of this week we will posting this series on counseling. We begin today with Pastor Jeff getting us up to speed on something called Endurance Through Hope (ETH) Cancer Ministry.
by Pastor Jeff Bartz
We are launching an exciting cancer outreach and discipleship ministry at Grace for our community called Endurance Through Hope. Our church is no stranger to cancer and it’s likely that you aren’t either. Over the last two years or so we have seen many folks diagnosed with cancer. One of them was Gayle Waldron. Gayle’s a lady who did not waste her cancer. In fact in the midst of chemo treatments she began working on becoming a certified biblical counselor. One day we were talking about what an outreach ministry might look like for cancer patients. That sparked an all out search to find out what other churches are doing. We found very little happening, even on the national scene in terms of churches that are making concentrated efforts to reach out to cancer patients and offer them hope. There are plenty of grief share groups. But not much in terms of solid believers seeking to join cancer patients in their journey to offer friendship, hope, encouragement and discipleship – someone who can be a real resource for them to be able to process the implications of treatments and the impact on family. A cancer diagnosis sparks an unprecedented time in a person’s life that brings significant questions and uncertainties, but it has also proven to be a time for reordering priorities.
Gayle, Sue Underwood, Mary Stryker and Colleen Hill began training for this ministry about a year ago. Since then it’s been fascinating to watch God open up the doors into the cancer community. We have a team of ladies who stand ready and willing to help and encourage cancer patients see their cancer the way God sees it. Their objective is to see cancer patients come to Christ and find joy in serving Him.
ETH does not end with these 4 ladies! This Fall we began a counseling training course for those interested in serving through ETH. There are 12 folks in this latest class, both men and women. This class demands more than just casual “interest.” Involvement in this class is a commitment to ministry. As the participants train to bring real hope to cancer patients, their own faith is strengthened as they learn and apply God’s Word. The training they are receiving is not just exclusive to cancer situations. They are learning biblical counseling practices that will serve them for a lifetime of ministry!
The following link is for a ETH brochure: