Lay Ministry Training

Cancer Ministry Training


Many caring individuals and churches want to support and minister to people with cancer and their families, but they’re unsure of what to say, what not to say, what the special needs of cancer patients are, how to best meet those needs. They often don’t know that much about cancer itself, or what treatment entails or how to support a person mentally/emotionally, spiritually and physically as the patient journeys along through diagnosis, treatment and beyond.


To help with the equipping and educating process, the Pastoral Care teams at the various Cancer Treatment Centers of America facilities offer a free-of-charge educational seminar for Christian churches and congregants called Lay Ministry Training through its spiritual outreach program Our Journey of Hope (OJOH).


This training helps congregants and clergy become more effective in ministry to cancer patients and their families, whether they’re in the church or out in the community, such as friends, neighbors, coworkers, family members.


If a church decides it would like to host an OJOH lay ministry training, all a ministry leader has to do is call 1-888-399-8126 or e-mail to speak with an OJOH representative, learn what is involved and schedule an available date. Then an OJOH team travels to the church and provides the training, usually on a Saturday. At the training, participants are also given a notebook of materials to help them in cancer ministry.


Some of the topics covered in the training include:

• The importance of faith to health

            • What cancer is … and isn’t

            • Why a whole-person philosophy of care is important

• Special spiritual, emotional and physical needs of cancer patients

            • What to say, what not to say

• Prayer and the cancer patient

            • Dos and don’ts of hospital visitation

            • Creative ways to care for cancer patients and family members 

• Prevention ideas

            • Helpful Scriptures


While the training may differ somewhat in length and content, depending on which OJOH team is providing it and the needs of your church, we have filmed a portion of a typical lay ministry training and present it here for your use. We hope you’ll find this beneficial. Handouts for the ministry exercises mentioned at the end of this training can be requested by e-mailing


If you’re at a church which has already hosted an OJOH training, this might be a good refresher for those already in cancer ministry or of benefit to those who have newly joined your ministry efforts.    


If you’re at a church that doesn’t think it can host an OJOH lay ministry training at this time, but you do have a faith-based cancer ministry and would like a set of materials for those serving in your ministry, please contact Before we send the materials, we do ask that you watch the videos, and then, if you can provide our OJOH representative with contact information for each of those people in your ministry, along with information regarding the pastoral oversight your ministry has at your church, we’ll be glad to send you a packet of materials for your cancer ministry staff. We ask for this information so that if we have any other special ministry opportunities or offerings, we can let you know about those and tell you where you can view them or take advantage of them.

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