Solace (Groups)

What Is Solace?

Introduction

Solace is a small group ministry to those facing grave illness that is often terminal in nature and their caregivers. Solace is a ministry of Stage4 Ministries, a 501(c) 3 non-profit religious corporation. We are so glad you have expressed interest in Solace small groups and pray that it will enable your church to love and serve, “the least of these” who are suffering through an extreme difficulty like a cancer diagnosis, dementia, MS, diabetes…etc., and their caregivers.

In the Gospel According to Luke there is a passage is similar to the mission of Solace:

““The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because
He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’”

(Luke 4:18–19, NKJV)

This describes the Ministry of the Messiah.

It also describes what happens when we follow Christ’s example in ministry. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. We look for the Spirit to lead us in everything we do in Solace. Our purpose is to bring the hope of the Gospel to those who are downtrodden and overwhelmed with physical illness, facing death; the poor.

Our mission statement at Stage4 Ministries and therefore, Solace, is to Listen, Encourage, and Pray. These guiding principles aide us in providing a loving and safe environment to express emotional difficulties, struggles, treatment issues, and similar issues with others in the group. We are not medical doctors, nor are we medical professionals and do not give out medical or psychological advice but do provide spiritual care.

Here is what Solace looks like:

Solace consists of the book, Grace for the Battle, written by Steve Marquez about his experience fighting terminal (Stage 4) cancer and where he found “Solace” in Jesus Christ, a Study Guide to serve as a way to start conversations while the group is gathered, and a time of encouragement through the Scriptures. We also utilize the GroupMe app to create a local Solace Group and later to become part of a national Solace group where we can continue group discussions, express prayer requests, or provide encouragement, in other words, ListenEncourage, and Pray. This keeps us connected even when we are not able to attend in person but is not meant as a substitute for in-person interaction.

At the end of each Solace group (11 weeks total), the group meets for a service project. We provide care bags for chemo patients, which includes personal items, blankets, pillows, etc. And then follow-up fellowship opportunities after that, like a dinner to provide opportunities for personal testimonies and other encouragement. We are an intentional small group. No matter the total number of people who sign up for Solace, we divide them into even smaller groups of 6 to 8 people around a table. It works best to have a table where the group can face each other. The group changes every couple of weeks until every member has had the opportunity be at every table. Each one should have a table leader who understands what Solace is about. Those who have gone through 11 weeks of Solace are then encouraged to become table leaders when the next Solace group begins.

A little background information

When Steve was first diagnosed with cancer, he and his wife looked around for a group we could attend where we could find spiritual support. At the time, they lived in Arkansas and found many good physical and even psychological / emotional support groups, but non that were spiritual in nature. As time went on, they continued the search and finally were led by the Lord to start one themselves. Therefore, Stage4 Ministries was born with Solace small groups in mind from the beginning. They needed spiritual support. That is what Solace provides.

At Solace, we ListenEncourage, and Pray. Going back to Luke 4, we find that listening, encouraging, and praying, helps to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of (spiritual) sight to the blind. It sets at liberty those who are oppressed in their particular struggle and leads them to where they can find the greatest help and healing, the Savior, Jesus Christ, Himself.

We seek to emulate the Ministry of the Messiah.

From Steve:

“After five weeks in the hospital and three major surgeries, I was released to a physical rehabilitation hospital. The first day was a Saturday, so the care wasn’t individual, but group therapy. All the in-patients that could participate were placed in a circle and we did things like pass a beach ball to each other and other coordination exercises. As I looked around the room, I noticed a man in a wheelchair. Later I learned that a few days previous he had come home late one evening from work, fell asleep, and crashed into a telephone poll and lost both his legs. Another had bandages on the left side of her head. I learned that she had emergency brain surgery and could barely function. Others had developmental problems and difficulties. I was in a wheelchair from spine and other surgeries. I thought to myself, “Jesus would be among these people.” Then realized that He was among them. Jesus is among the least of these. This reminded me of the ministry of Jesus, the Ministry of the Messiah.”

We desire to be like Him in our calling to ListenEncourage, and Pray. Therefore, Solace exists for the very purpose. We pray that you will consider having a Solace group at your church to provide the spiritual care needed for these precious people.

Resources

In the near future we hope to have resources available for download such as the Study Guide, training videos, and introduction videos for Solace and each chapter of the book. Please look for these to appear here in the near future.

Finally, Solace is NOT academic in nature. This is not a college class, or theology class, although we are relying heavily upon the Scriptures throughout. We are here to support one another in grace, listening, encouraging, and praying. If someone is not able to do their homework that week, please attend anyway—you will be able to participate in the group discussion and receive the encouragement you need. We do not grade papers. The book and Study Guide will provide a lot of ways to overcome difficulties and give encouragement that you will miss if you don’t do the homework, so you should read as much as you can, to motivate you in your journey.

If you would like to order the Book or Study Guide, please follow the link below.

Solace Logo

Click image of Grace for the Battle and the study guide to purchase.