Start a Cancer Care Ministry
Do you feel called to serve cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers? Cancer Treatment Centers of America offers a free training program. The two-day immersion provides free cancer care training to faith-based organizations, pastors, spiritual leaders, and everyday people—enabling them to start their own cancer ministries.
According to Rev. Percy McCray, National Director of Faith-Based Programs and Spiritual Outreach at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, ministries must serve the needs of cancer patients with the same fervor that’s applied to other areas of ministry. “We now know that 1 out of every 2 men and 1 out of every 3 women are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in the future,” states Rev. McCray. “Every year, over 1.5 million people in the United States alone are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. And that number is rising! The good news is that more people are surviving a bout of cancer than ever before. But that also means there are more people living with the effects of cancer—or the after effects of cancer—who really need support. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, we estimate that there are approximately 4 to 9 people sitting inside each local church who have been diagnosed with cancer, will be diagnosed with cancer, or just finished up a treatment for cancer,” Rev. McCray adds.
Recognizing this pervasive need, Cancer Treatment Centers of America launched Our Journey of Hope to equip leaders and local churches. “To date, we have trained over 3,000 people from the faith-community, which is about 1,800 to 1,900 churches that recognize the importance of having a cancer care ministry. The program deals with a pretty wide range of subject matter that includes comfort counseling, caring for caregivers, and dealing with the potential loss of cancer patients. So, our training covers a broad spectrum of subjects that provide spiritual and practical support,” says Rev. McCray.
So, What’s Required?
In order to attend Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s free training, attendees must possess one requirement: “We have limited our training to individuals who have spiritual accountability,” states Rev. McCray. “In the beginning, we allowed anyone who had a heart to do this to train, and unfortunately we ran into issues with some individuals who took the materials and did things that they shouldn’t have done. We had no way of correcting or curbing that because those individuals were not spiritually accountable to anyone. So, we now limit this training to participants who belong to a local church. The pastor does not have to take the training—though we would encourage them to do so. But, we ask that all trainees be members of an established church, because we’ve run into situations with rogue individuals,” Rev. McCray further confides.
What Does the Training Entail?
The cancer care training program caters to busy schedules. “The training is only two half days,” says Rev. McCray. “Plus, everyone from the ministry doesn’t have to attend the training. We train two representatives from the ministry, and they train the people at their church. This training is absolutely free of charge. We only require that attendees pay for their transportation and one night at a hotel, which is very nominal and near the training site. Everything else—the material and even their meals—are paid for by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.”
Is It Offered Online?
“At this current date and time, we have resisted doing an online training for many different reasons,” Rev. McCray shares. “As things currently sit, we require that people attend training at one of our participating hospitals—which is currently in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Zion. The training includes eight lesson plans, and participants get to have a conversation with an oncologist and some of our clinicians. They also take a tour of our facility. You’d be surprised how many people haven’t stepped foot in a hospital because of the stigma. So, we’ve created a tour that includes seeing the radiation center and chemotherapy area. We try to destigmatize the hospital experience. If you’re going to support cancer patients, at some point you’ll have to go to a hospital and spend time with them. That’s all built into our in-house immersion.”
For more information, visit OurJourneyOfHope.com or call 888-399-8126.