In the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the ministries of health and social services have been core to our Disciples identity and faith. For us, this tradition has evolved into supporting and partnering with a network of care providers and justice-minded individuals who serve as the “hands and feet of God” in their communities. Today, the National Benevolent Association (NBA) connects and supports a network of 40+ Disciples-related health and social service ministries across the life of the church.
Participation in this network of Disciples-related health and social service ministries is by choice. A demonstrated connection to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ethos, mission, or structure should be evident through mission statements, board representation, or congregational/regional/general church/ecumenical alliances.
Support and Services
Our goals are to connect, resource, and amplify these ministries, providing access to a constellation of support and services, such as marketing and communications consulting, executive coaching, back-office accounting, and executive searches, as well as networking with other partners through webinars, educational trainings, and peer-group learning opportunities.
Supporting collaborative communities of Disciples working together on particular health and social service justice issues, we advocate for, and respond to, topics of concern across the life of the church, regularly publishing blogs, webinars, and other resources, as well as hosting virtual and in-person workshops and gatherings.
Peer Learning and Wellness Groups
As NBA continues to collaborate to connect and resource our Disciples health and social service ministries, we have begun to call together Peer Learning and Wellness Groups around common areas of ministry or professional roles. “The peer group model is an effective way to help practitioners hone their craft and find much-needed support in the company of colleagues,” says Rev. Rebecca Hale, NBA Executive Vice President. “Disciples health and social service ministries benefit when we are connected in a strong network of care.”
Peer Learning and Wellness Groups provide an opportunity for leaders to engage in peer support and encouragement, mutual dialogue, spiritual renewal, and peer-to- peer learning. The vision of NBA Peer Learning and Wellness Groups is to provide an opportunity for likeminded individuals to cultivate a community focused on:
- Education: Peer-to-peer learning, sharing experience and expertise on leadership/ministry related issues, and sharing resources.
- Inspiration: Spiritual renewal, self-care, peer support/encouragement.
- Advocacy: engaging in a collaborative service or advocacy project. Each cohort gives particular attention to the current issues affecting their work and/or ministries.
Cohorts join together for a set period of time, typically between 1-2 years. The experience includes time for rest and renewal, joyful shared conversation, and group learning with others who truly understand the challenges and gifts of faith-based work in the current environment.
NBA also hopes, as appropriate, to hear the experiences and challenges of Disciples-related health and social service ministries in a way that allows us to deepen our effectiveness in supporting this work across the life of the church. Learn more about our most recent Peer Groups below!
Prison and Jail Ministries
Prison and Jail Ministries (PJM) supports Disciples engaged in spiritual care and advocacy ministries with those who are or have been incarcerated and their families. This work centers around inspiration, advocacy, and education. Visit their webpage to learn more >>
Mental Health Initiative
The Mental Health Initiative (MHI) hopes to support the prioritization of mental health and wellness in the life of the church, establishing the necessary awareness and understanding required to counter stigma, and change the landscape of conversation regarding mental illness and disorders within the church. Visit their webpage to learn more >>
Connect with us!
Are you with a Disciples-related health and social service ministry? We welcome you to learn more and get involved with this network.
In October 2013, more than 40 leaders of health and social service ministries gathered to share their dreams and hopes. Watch a video of some highlights! We look forward to gathering again in October 2018 for the CONNECT Conference.