Church Leaders as a Cancer Support System

Discipleship is intentional. When Jesus started His ministry on earth, He chose a few men and sent them out to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and do wondrous miracles.

         Jesus’ disciples had a personal relationship with Him, and you should do the same. If you want revival and transformation in your congregation, you must learn to lead like Jesus by walking in love.

         One of the ways you can show love and compassion is to comfort the sick. Many individuals under the stress of illness, such as cancer, call upon God for help. As a church leader, how can you support these people?

Pastors and church leaders like you provide spiritual leadership to your members and the community. By sharing the Word of God, you can help individuals, including those battling cancer, find a sense of purpose.

Sometimes, religious congregations partner with social workers and organizations like the Mesothelioma Group. Church leaders and members can find invaluable support from groups like this.

Understanding a cancer patient’s experiences can help church leaders like you create a solid, reliable, and God-centered support system for members struggling with cancer.

Read on to learn how you can support individuals with cancer. The article discusses the church’s role in health promotion as leaders work towards genuine and compassionate discipleship, inviting everyone to join Jesus’ mission of love.        

How Church Leaders Can Support Individuals With Cancer

         Sometimes, getting in touch with one’s spirituality may help individuals with cancer cope with the emotional and psychological effects of their illness.

         These people need strength, inspiration, and motivation during their cancer journey. As a church leader, you must understand the needs of these individuals in your congregation to serve them well.

         Here are some ways church leaders can support individuals with cancer:

Encourage and Give Hope

Hopelessness has been linked to poor adjustment to illness, depression, poor quality of life, and dissatisfaction with the support received from interpersonal ties.

Hopelessness has also been a strong predictor of cancer incidence and death from such an illness.

As a church leader, you must give faith and hope to individuals with cancer, their families, and their friends. Hope is found in God’s promises. So you must help these individuals trust God in the process.

Be Present and Listen 

You can share the Gospel with cancer patients and their loved ones. You can also pray for them. Sometimes, you don’t even have to say anything. You only need to be with them and comfort them in silence.

Establish Connections

          Through the help of pastors and leaders, churches can make valuable connections for members with cancer.

          As a church leader, you can connect an individual with cancer with another church member who may also be in treatment with a similar diagnosis. They can learn from their experiences, encourage each other, and increase their faith.

The Role of the Church in Health Promotion Interventions

Churches have been identified as an effective setting for providing access to healthcare and promoting health. 

         A 2018 study mentioned that when a church leader’s beliefs about the appropriateness of talking about health topics increased, the presence of these types of messages in the congregation also increased. 

         Aside from sharing the Gospel and providing biblical encouragement, churches can do the following activities to promote health in the community:

  • Conduct regular health-promotion activities in the church
  • Promote testimonies, biblical reflections, and literature that fight fear and cancer stigma
  • Organize health talks to give comprehensive information on cancer
  • Encourage church members to go for early diagnosis and early screening
  • Offer pastoral accompaniment and prayers to families affected by cancer
  • Support cancer advocacy, mobilization, and ethical distribution of resources, including diagnostic and treatment services, particularly for poor and marginalized individuals

God’s Love Brings Revival 

          God’s love is proactive and sacrificial. It brings true revival. To be a true disciple of Jesus, you must allow God’s love to radiate from your life to every person around you.

          Many people are suffering needlessly from cancer and other malignant diseases. They may feel sad, powerless, hopeless, and alone. But you can provide spiritual and emotional sustenance by intentionally reaching out to them.

People with cancer often look more deeply into their lives. They want to understand why they got this illness and think about their purpose in life.

The spiritual journey of individuals with cancer is unique. Others may feel their faith has let them down after a cancer diagnosis. But some find that their sickness brings them closer to their God. 

When one of your church members with cancer struggles with uncertainty, you can begin by listening well to understand their suffering. Then, gently lead them to the confident hope that Christ is with them.

Each time they feel overwhelmed by their situation, encourage them to cling to the truth – God will never leave them nor forsake them.

Even if sicknesses like cancer occur, God’s love and faithfulness remain steadfast. Encourage your congregation, especially those living with cancer, to depend on the faithfulness of Jesus, the savior of this world.

One day, they can finally say with confidence that their momentary troubles are achieving eternal glory that far outweighs every trial that comes their way.


  1. Religion and Spirituality: The Role of the Clergy

  1. How can we help? Congregational care in the midst of cancer

  1. The role of leadership support in a church-based cancer education implementation study

  1. Health-Promoting Churches