Five Steps to a GREAT Kickoff for Your Cancer Companions Group

Karen Tripp MS LMFT  President Cancer Companions

 Step #1 How are we doing?  (CC’s Ministry Needs Assessment)

Step #2  Do we need to divide responsibilities among the team? (Select CC’s Team members roles)

Step #3 Teach Church Leader to be Cancer Companions Encouragers (Develop Referral System)

Step #4 Begin Monthly Outreach Contacts (Community Outreach)

Step #5 Teach church members to be encouragers (Church Wide Kickoff)


Step #1 How are we doing?  (CC’s Ministry Needs Assessment)

Answer each yes or no.

  • ____ Are we on track for the number of people with cancer that we are serving?
  • ____ Do we have enough team members (volunteers) to lead our support groups?
  • ____ Do we have enough team members to provide one to one meetings?
  • ____ Do we have enough team members to stay connected (phone calls, cards, emails etc.) with people you learn that are coping with cancer?
  • ____ Do we have enough Seeing God in Your cancer Journey books?
  • ____ Do we have enough funds for books and additional trainings? (REMEMBER you can retake the live training for only $25.)
  • ____ Have we set a date for a group to start?!!!

For each no, make a plan.

  • Need more participants? Watch Community Outreach Web Seminar
  • Need more team members? Watch Six Steps to Get Started
  • Problems ordering books? Contact Home Office
  • Need funds? Brainstorm with church staff, CC’s regional representative or Karen about solutions other churches have found.

Step #2  Do we need to divide responsibilities among the team? (Select CC’s Team members roles)

Rate how important you feel this role is for your team.  1- very important 2- somewhat important and 3 not important.

Which roles do you feel you can combine?

Administration Roles

____ 1. Church Staff Liaison:

  • Receives all phone calls from Church secretary and church staff of people impacted by cancer which they hear about.
  • Assigns new people to CC’s team members. (DOES NOT RETURN PHONE CALLS!)
  • Tracks who is assigned to who.
  • When you notice that a staff member is not referring to CC’s, take time to explain the ministry to them.
  • Periodically puts a goodie (cookie, candy) in church staff boxes/staff room as a gift form CC’s to keep the staff thinking about the ministry.

____ 2. Supervision Meeting Leader:

  • Schedules room and arranges technology for Monthly Continuing Education meeting for CC’s volunteers.
  • Makes sure that all team members have copies of Making a Connection Supervision sheet and Cancer Companions Session Notes.
  • leads supervision meetings
  • Contacts all volunteers who miss meeting to check on them.
  • Available to team throughout the month to discuss any stories or concerns about the people they are serving.

____ 3. Prayer Team Leader:

  • Ask each volunteer to recommend people to be on your Our Savior Lutheran Cancer Companion prayer team.  Send an email to each saying who reccomended them and inviting each of them to join the team.  these people can be anywhere in the country since you will connect with them through email.
  • Compile these into an email list for you to send prayer request after each monthly CC’s Team Meeting.
  • At monthly volunteer team meeting, ask for prayer request in these areas:
  1.  Prayers for CC’s participants (do not use people’s names unless they have agreed)
  2. Prayers for your group leaders and those giving one to one care for strength, wisdom, support, etc.
  3. Prayers for your CC team – need more participants? more volunteers? more referrals form resources? more involvement form church staff? upcoming events/groups?
  • Arrange for a monthly Cancer Prayer Station for anyone needing prayers for themselves or someone they know coping with cancer. (third Sunday? second Sunday?) using CC’s balloons (see starter kit) in Info area before and after services.  (Delegate times to CC’s volunteers)
  • Place notice in bulletin and have announcement from pastor.
  • At the station, make a list of prayer request, give out info about your CC’s group/ministry, get contact info for those who ask for prayers so you can follow up next week. (anything new we can pray for?) Assign these phone calls/notes to different CC’s volunteers.

Communication with Church Members Roles

____ 3. Church Publicity Team:

  • Arrange for Info tables during kickoff of new groups.  (Delegate times to CC’s volunteers)
  • Make flyers for new groups or events
  • keep flyers in hall ways of church 24/7 so when ever someone hears of a person with cancer, they can get a flyer.
  • Arrange for installation of new team members during Sunday service.
  • Plan a Medical personnel and/or educator’s referral packet event once a year. (see community outreach manual and tools on log in section of web site)
  • Share CC’s promotional videos and flyers at groups around church: Bible studies, prayer breakfasts, Sunday school teacher’s meetings, choir, etc.- see Community Outreach manual  (Delegate times/locations to CC’s volunteers)

Community Outreach Roles

____ 4. Monthly Community Outreach gifts:

  • Build your own Community Outreach referral list.  have everyone on team complete form in Community Outreach manual listing the locations they are most FAMILIAR with.  have them pick 2-3 they will visit each month.  Give contact information of cancer resources to Cancer Resource Guide manager to put in your resource guide.
  • Make calendar for what items each CC’s volunteer will deliver each month.  What Info item- flyers. cards, signs as well as what Fun item- bag, basket for staff rooms (see community outreach seminar)
  • Invite small groups or  bible study groups to sign up for a month that they will provide Fun item as their service project.
  1. Cancer Resource Guide Manager:
  • Maintain on excel template a list of additional cancer resources to submit to Home Office for your local resource guide each January.
  • Ask at monthly meeting if anyone has heard of a new resource or has a participant looking for a resource not currently in resource guide. If needed, delegate team members to help look for resources.
  • Ask at monthly meetings if the volunteers when they drop off their gifts to resources in the area, for them to check if our listing for them is correct.  New contacts? new services?

Step #3 Teach Church Leader to be Cancer Companions Encouragers (Develop Referral System)

  1. Who are the influences in your church community? Circle all that apply
  • Staff
  • Pastors
  • School staff/principal
  • Elders
  • Council
  • Woman’s ministry
  • Committees
  • Parents
  • Established families/Large donors


  1. Have meetings with each group to show video: Be a Cancer Companions Encourager (8 minutes In Tool Box on website) Under promotional videos. REPEAT

Be a Cancer Companions Encourager Video Talking Points

  • What if people drew closer to Christ through their cancer journey? James 4:8b Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you.
  • God wants us to ask fr MORE from Him during a cancer journey.
  • Topics:
  • Faith
  • Healing
  • Prayer
  • Questions for God
  • Stress, Communications
  • Relationships
  • Healthy Living.
  • Cancer Companions Groups are for:
    • People with either weak or strong faith
    • People who protect loved ones form their cancer difficulties.
    • “Nobody want to hear me talk about this cancer anymore.”
  • It’s hard to reach out for help. People need your encouragement to find the scriptures, prayer and fellowship they need through Cancer Companions.
  1. End of meeting use the Cancer Companions Contact Sheet in Tool Box under Materials for Getting the Word out. Have them complete in meeting then hand into you.
  1. Decide with your church leaders how they should contact the CC’s Church Staff Liaison (see Roles list form before) Especially staff person who receives prayer requests for cancer.  All these should be forwarded to Church Staff Liaison.

 Step #4 Begin Monthly Outreach Contacts (Community Outreach)

This is covered at length in the Community Outreach Web Seminar.  Basic idea is

  1. You build a list of places in your community to visit once a month. Could be schools, cancer centers, etc.
  2. Each team member takes 2-3 places and visits the same places every month building trust and a referral source.
  3. Take info (flyers, referral cards etc.) and something fun (like a basket of apples or juice boxes) for the staff room with sign: FROM _______church Cancer Companions Team and your contact info.
  4. Make two visits before your kickoff.
  5. REPEAT monthly

Step #5 Teach church members to be encouragers (Church Wide Kickoff)

Church Announcements not enough: “Boy, I’m glad that cancer ministry has nothing to do with me.”

We want EVERY church member to ENCOURAGE their family and friends coping with cancer to come to your group.

Sunday Service and smaller gatherings presentation ideas  (women’s bible study, men’s prayer group, Senior luncheon, choir, etc.)

Rate possibility: 1- this could happen!   2- maybe  3- probably not

  1. ALWAYS use the CC’s Bulletin insert/Contact Sheet (on tool list) as a bulletin insert, if possible. Collect after service. Give info AND get info.
  2. Share talking points (above) to the video Be a Cancer Companions Encourager at Sunday service. (or show video- 8 minutes- probably too long))
  3. Have installation of Cancer Companions volunteers (sample installation service on web site tool list)
  4. Monthly Cancer Prayer station
  5. Testimonial from CC’s participant of volunteer.
  6. Have referral cards or flyers available in church public area 24/7 so members can use to encourage others. Make this part of your announcement.


SAMPLE Time Line:

TONIGHT                  Step #1 How are we doing?  (CC’s Ministry Needs Assessment)

JUNE                          Step #2  Do we need to divide responsibilities among the team? (Select CC’s Team members roles)

JULY/AUGUST       Step #3 Teach Church Leader to be Cancer Companions Encouragers (Develop Referral System)

August                       Step #4 Begin Monthly Outreach Contacts (Community Outreach)

September                 Step #5 Teach church members to be encouragers (Church Wide Kickoff)


JOSHUA 1  Be Strong and Courageous

About Karen Tripp

Beyond being a Christian Counselor and the President of Cancer Companions, Karen loves to read (she's a great reader) and loves to sing (she's a bad singer) in her home near St Louis, MO. Cancer has personally touched Karen's personal life through her dad - a 23 year colon cancer survivor. Impacting lives for Christ through her speaking, writing and counseling fills Karen with a passion which infuses every task she approaches. (except matching socks. Karen hates matching socks.)
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