Sunday, June 11, 2023

Lay Pastors Ministry Incorporated (LPMI) Extending the model in the wider community

By David Clements

    I read somewhere the other day that US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, had indicated that loneliness is the new tobacco. In fact, he shared that loneliness may well shorten life by 25%, making it the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

    With 40 years of caring for the flock through ministry to people, in one way or another, I can attest to that idea. Loneliness is a killer.

    Around the same time, I heard a local TV station reporting that despair is the latest deadly disease. Again, I can attest to that theory.

    But, there is hope. In his book, Can the Pastor Do It Alone?, the late Melvin Steinbron set out a ministry model to train and support lay people in the Christian Church to “Care for the flock.” He referred to these individuals as ‘lay pastors’ or ‘shepherds.’ Intrigued by Steinbron’s idea, I introduced it to the ruling body of the Pastoral Charge in which I served at that time. The concept was warmly received and, despite some opposition, implemented and - ultimately - proved extremely successful in enabling the people of God to minister to the people of God using their spirit-driven gifts to share love among the congregation.

    What a simple yet amazing way to share the love of God among the people of God. Mel and I had numerous discussions about the potential of this model as a tool for growing the Church. But, Mel was adamant that while Church growth could well be a welcome side benefit, the sole purpose of the LPMI model was bettering lives through an intentional sharing of the love of God by the people of God among the people of God (the congregation).

    While I agreed with that philosophy, I fully believed that the love that is God extends to all people. I knew Mel believed this too, as we discussed the concept many times. With this in mind, I reasoned that as long as there are enough trained lay pastors to fully serve the “Church families,” there were people, unaffiliated with the Church, who could benefit from regular visits from a trained lay pastor. The executive level of our LPMI team discussed this idea and we were delighted to see that over time, with careful planning and cooperation from our lay pastors, the idea was put into practice and actually did work. The caring ministry was extended beyond the actual Church membership as several of our lay pastors were able to bring love and caring to lonely and needy people in the broader community.

    I’m pretty sure that Mel (who died in 2017) would agree that the LPMI model of training and supporting lay pastors is one that could be used in the battle against loneliness and despair that plagues so many lives in our world today.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

35 Tips for Church Caring Ministries

Caring ministry programs may vary far and wide when it comes to the groups you tend to serve. There are innumerable ways to help the hurting or lost in their time of need and to truly be the “hands and feet” of God by actively serving with purpose. Here are some ideas for your group.

Caring for church family members facing a serious illness

 1. Send cards and encouragement often.

 2. Plan to clean the house or do yard maintenance.

 3. Organize hospital or home visits to brighten a   person’s day!

 4. Create a basket of small individually wrapped gifts so the recipient will have a basket of cheer they can go to whenever they need a lift.

 5. Write scripture or encouragement in sidewalk chalk on the driveway or sidewalk.

Caring for local community needs

 6. Organize a food drive for a local non-profit that feeds the hungry.

 7. Collect clothing or other needs with a donation-based sign up. See example.

 8. Gather a group to volunteer monthly in your community.

 9. Organize a book drive for an underprivileged school.

 10. Organize a sports equipment drive for an underfunded athletic association.

Caring by supporting world missions

 11. Plan a mission trip

 12. Participate in a run/walk/ride event to raise money to fight hunger or provide clean water to impoverished countries.

 13. Sponsor a child through a reputable agency to provide funds for school, nutrition, or housing.

 14. Find out your church's sponsored overseas missionaries and send them a care package.

 15. Have a world mission focus as part of your church's VBS and raise money for a particular project or item needed.

 Caring through prayer

 16. Hold prayer vigils for those in your church family who need extra support.

 17. Organize a 24 Hours of Prayer event

 18. Email a daily/weekly prayer and ask others to join you in praying it.

 19. Communicate specific prayer needs regularly.

 20. Organize a prayer chain to take action on urgent prayer needs.

Caring for those in recovery

 21. Organize a meal schedule

 22. Plan some fun outings or plan one at home.

 23. Coordinate friends to drive a patient to attend treatment.

 24. Plan a movie night - bring some friends and popcorn.

 25. Stock the pantry/refrigerator.

Caring for those in financial crisis

 26. Hold monthly or weekly meetings and have financial counselors come and give advice.

 27. For those suffering from job loss, coordinate a list of mentors and match up those who could help one another.

 28. Offer financial planning classes at your church.

 29. Post a list of money saving blogs that help with couponing and discounts.

 30. Initiate a church fund that helps families with urgent needs.  This can be used to pay utility bills, grocery bills, etc.

Caring for those who are grieving

 31. Bring the family meals.

 32. Send cards to families who are grieving.

 33. Schedule a fundraiser to benefit a cause that means a lot to the family.

 34. Plant a tree or flower in memory of loved ones lost each month.

 35. Keep a library of resources to support those who are grieving, like books, a list of local support groups, or links to websites that offer support and encouragement.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Believing In the Cause

By Marie Parma

Several years ago I had the privilege of watching my grandson develop an interest

in running. He entered several “fun” races…one or two miles…and had done quite well.

Then he decided to enter a 2 mile run to benefit the local Boys and Girls Clubs in the


It was quite exciting to hear him talk about his strategy for the race…about setting

a pace and maintaining it. It was even more thrilling to watch him as they began the run

and then to see him round the bend in the road and race toward the finish line! He was

first in his age division and eleventh overall with a time of 15:16…that’s a 7:38 mile! I

can tell you all about being a proud grandmother when he received his medal!

As proud as I was of my grandson, I was even more inspired by another person in

the race that day. His time was a little over 54 minutes for the 2 miles. He finished last.

He was 89 years old and walked with a cane. It was the first race he had ever entered.

When asked why he participated in the event, he simply said, “I believe in the cause.”

What a statement – I BELIEVE IN THE CAUSE. It didn’t matter where he placed in

relationship to others. He was faithful to complete the race because he believed in the


For many years I have been involved in ministry…a ministry of caring for the

congregation by lay people. The concept of the ministry is simple: PACE - Prayer,

Availability, Contact, Example. Over the years I have seen lives touched and changed as

ordinary people reach out with the love of Christ as we pray, make ourselves available,

contact regularly and be an example of love with skin on to them. That is “believing in

the cause”---the cause of Christ.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Example of Our Ministry Newsletter


Lay Pastors Ministry, INC Website Lives Again

 Lay Pastors Ministry, INC (LPMI) was founded nearly 40 years ago by the Rev. Melvin Steinbron to encourage and equip lay people for caring ministry. Two books were published - "Can the Pastor Do it Alone" and "The Lay Driven Church." These two texts formed the core material for training lay people in this particular structure of caring in the church. 

We had a very vibrant web presence until about 5 years ago when the Director of Ministry Operations, Else Rodland, died unexpectedly. We are in the process of rebuilding the web-presence and continuing to provide resources for lay caring ministries. 

Members of the LPMI Board are:

  • The Rev. Neil Epler, President
  • The Rev. Lee Zehmer, Vice-President and Treasurer
  • The Rev. Tom Corbell, President Emeritus
  • Marianne  Weigman, Secretary
  • Marie Parma