What is it?
Gabriel’s Callers is a phone calling ministry of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church & School in Bourbonnais, IL. Because we began it in the season of Christmas, we named our group after the angel Gabriel who brought good news of great joy to all people (Luke 2:10). Phone callers meet at our church twice a week, two times each month, to call members of our congregation with no other agenda than to greet them. We share concern and compassion for them by asking how things are going and taking prayer requests. We let them know that they are valued members of the Body of Christ and our local community faith.
Why is it necessary?
Church attendance is no longer as consistent as it once was. In a big church, it’s easier than ever to slip through the cracks. In our connected world, people feel lonely and more disconnected than ever. People are often hurting, but don’t feel like they can reach out for help. Gabriel’s Callers is a way to address many of these concerns. You may be used to the church asking you for more time or more money, but what if the church called to ask how you were doing and if there was anything they could do for you? Gabriel’s Callers is a way to show Christian compassion and concern for all members of your congregation by reaching out and being a friendly voice of a brother or sister in Christ.
Who is involved?
An administrator and callers:
- Gabriel’s Callers is a light-weight ministry. At the least, a successful ministry would require one person who administers a group of callers and then the volunteers who make phone calls to members. It is possible to use church staff, such as a pastor or administrative assistant to administer the program. The callers should be people who want to share the love of Christ in very personal and non-threatening ways.
People you plan on calling
- In our setting, we first began phone calling older members of our congregation who were not often in worship. The goal was to reconnect with members who may have become “shut-ins,” because of illness, age, or other scenarios. To compile such a list in your own congregation would require access to membership and attendance data.
- We have also called members of our congregation who are grieving because they recently lost loved ones. We consider this an important way to walk with those who are grieving and need a friendly ear to talk (or cry) with in the weeks and months after the death of a loved one.
- You could also use this as a ministry to reach out to all members of your congregation, regardless of age, life situation, or attendance pattern. It may be more difficult to reach a larger pool of your congregation (especially if you call during the working hours), but even a friendly message left on voicemail can be a welcome sight!
How can we do this?
As you can tell Gabriel’s Callers can look very different depending on what specific needs you decide you want it to meet. Although it has such great flexibility, we want to be able to share with you some tools, so that you don’t need to start from square one.
Here is a link to a zip file that contains several helpful documents that you can reuse and modify for your own purposes. There are documents for launching, caller training, calling resources, and communicating successes. If you wish to have even more personal advice on how to implement this in your own church, you may also contact me personally and I’ll be happy to help you. We believe Gabriel’s Callers is a needed ministry for other congregations and we pray this would be a blessing for you. That’s why we are so excited to share this with you!