HOW TO GROW A HEALTHY WELL
I. What is a 'Well'?
The Rule of the Order of Jacob's Well states that:
A 'Well' is a community where Christians come to listen: to listen to God, to listen to Scripture, to listen to each other and to listen to the needs of God's wounded people, in and through the lifestyle of the community.
It is a place to study and practise the Healing Ministry of Christ; a safe place to fail, a place of love and blessing and refreshment where people may quietly bathe in God's love for them, and in the love of their fellow Order members
- Teaching within the Wells mirrors that of the Founder of the Order of Jacob's Well.
- Well members are obedient to Jesus' instructions to his disciples to 'Go out and preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.' (St Luke 9.2 and St Luke 10. 8 and 9)
- Our prayers reflect our praise, worship and thanksgiving for the completed work of the cross, and the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom.
II. The structure of a 'Well'
- Each Well functions under the leadership of an Elder who is in turn accountable to the Prior and to the Convocation of Elders.
- There may be a combination of Brothers and Sisters (full members of the OJW), licensed ministers, and Associates of the Well. Associates are people in the process of development in their ministry and commitment to the Well, but who are not yet full members of the Order. Licensed Ministers are those who were recognised as members of the Order of Jacob's Well prior to June 2012
- A Well is a group of Christians made up of members from more than one church in their locality. It is non-denominational.
- There are no rules for the maximum or minimum numbers necessary to form a Well. Larger groups covering a wide geographical area might grow 'organically' by splitting into two and continuing to grow under the leadership of two Elders.
- Wells react to local needs within their area. For example, they may visit a prison by invitation of the Chaplaincy, or a hospital by invitation of the patient and their family. (Please note that we have no automatic 'right' to go into institutions and visiting times or rules such as providing identity papers when visiting certain institutions must always be observed.)
III. The Process of setting up a 'Well':
It normally takes a minimum of two years for a new Well to be commissioned and welcomed into the Order. The following steps have to be put in place before this can take place:
- The appointment, after consultation with the Prior and existing Elders, of a Provisional Elder to lead the group. Once the two year process is complete this person becomes a full Elder, a member of the convocation of Elders, and the group admitted at a welcoming service, either at the annual Gathering, or during an Elders Convocation (by arrangement with the Prior).
- Each group would develop under the guidance of two Elders. The first would be a mentor and would monitor the progress of the group for a period of 18 months to 2 years.
- He or she would:
- Visit the group and get to know the Associates personally, befriending and being a mentor to the provisional Elder
- Provide the group with a copy of the Rule of the Order
- Run an 'In His Footsteps' course, which is a foundation course giving the basic teaching needed to become a member of a 'Well'
- Lead an initial healing service for the Provisional Elder and Associates of the team and their families. N.B. The authority to proclaim rests with the monitoring Elder. When he or she is comfortable that the Provisional Elder is capable of and confident enough to proclaim, they may delegate this responsibility to them.
- Lead interactive sessions demonstrating how we pray
- Provide support and a 'contact point' for the Provisional Elder.
The second Elder would:
- Continue providing affirmation and encouragement to the team
- Visit them during the final six months before they are due to be admitted as a Well, and take over as their mentor from the first Elder
- Check and monitor records of ministry visits/financial record–keeping /testimonies of healing following kingdom prayer
- Make sure that everything is in place for service in the local community including advice about outreach
- Advise about any concerns or anxieties that the group or Provisional Elder may have.
N.B. This Elder may continue to mentor and monitor the new Well for a period of at least a year after its induction into the Order.
IV. What do Elders do?
- Attend the Elders' convocations. The Elders are responsible, together with the Prior, for the spiritual direction of the Order.
- Seek out people with 'hospitable hearts' to join with and grow their team.
- 'Network' with local churches and Christian Organisations
- Arrange times and venues for team meetings/healing services
- Arrange and encourage ongoing teaching and bible study
- Take responsibility for ensuring that structures such as Safeguarding and Insurance are in place in accordance with current guidelines from the Trustees of OJW.
- Encourage their Associates to take on roles and responsibilities within their Well, for example, to develop their own prayer ministries, to learn to proclaim, to lead healing services etc. However, only when they are comfortable that the Associate is capable of and competent to undertake a particular task may they delegate this responsibility to them.
- Identify those Associates who are faithful to the work of the Well, show commitment and the ability to proclaim, to become Brothers and Sisters within the Order, and thus full members of the Order of Jacob's Well. N.B. Two Elders are required to nominate each Brother or Sister, but one will be the Elder in charge of the Well unless otherwise determined by Convocation.
V. What do Wells do?
a) Pray together (attend team meetings)
N.B. It is important that we spend time in prayer together and that all our Well decisions are based on a strong prayer foundation. This can be
1) On a regular (e.g. monthly) basis at an agreed venue.
2) At a designated time e.g. before all healing services.
Meetings are a time for:
- Worship and Prayer
- Sharing news
- Planning events/services/ministry
- Ministry within the team
- Getting to know one another/socialising
- Introducing guests/anyone potentially interested in joining the Well to the group
b) Provide teaching – both foundational teaching for people interested in learning more about Kingdom healing, and ongoing teaching for Well members:
1) The 'In His Footsteps Course' – Each attendee is given a course booklet to take away as an aid to further study. Some Elders run a limited number of DVDs (e.g. DVDs numbers 1,3,4,5,6,7 and10) rather than all 11. Others use DVD 11 as a means of bringing the group together again after a period of time to see how they are getting on, renew the 'bonding' process and answer any questions.
The 'In His Footsteps' course can be run in several different ways (this is not an exhaustive list):
- As an evening course over several weeks
- As a concentrated weekend course
- As a three day 'retreat' including a time of worship at the beginning and end of each day. This has the advantage of people being able to 'bond' with each other, and their leader, and may be helpful when a provisional elder is trying to build up a new Well.
- Music for worship time, supper or a light lunch may be provided to give time for socialising within the group.
2) Other teaching aids:
- OJW website (www.jabobswell.org.uk) – both free and subscription teaching items are available
- Series of short teaching topics by Mike Endicott 'All These Things' available on the website
- CD 'Your Kingdom Come'
- 'Waiting for God' booklets
- 'Praying the Cross' booklet
- Bible reading listening
- The Rule of the Order of Jacob's Well – explanation and discussion
- Discussion of The Order's online 'blog' and YouTube videos
- Recordings of teaching at the annual OJW Gatherings
c) Healing Services:
- Healing Services would include worship, Kingdom teaching/Proclamation, ministry during or at the end of the service and could include platform ministry.
- Healing services can be run on a regular basis if a suitable venue is available.
- It is possible to hold healing services in secular venues such as community halls, gardens or even in a large room in a private house.
- Wells may lead a healing service within a church, or in other venues such as a prison or hospital by invitation of the Leadership or Chaplaincy.
- A healing service may be included as part of the 'In His Footsteps' course
- The Elder or Provisional Elder together with Brothers and Sisters and Associates may be involved in Leading a healing service, Proclaiming (Kingdom Teaching) and Ministry. Interested supporters/regular attendees may be invited to do the bible readings or provide music.
d) Provide prayer ministry for God's hurting and broken people:
1) Offering appointments for individuals, either at Well meetings after team prayer and teaching or, for those not involved in the Well, in their own homes or at an agreed venue, e.g. church rooms, etc. (It is not advisable to use the homes of ministers unless the supplicants are well known to them.
2) A generous length of time is allocated, especially for an initial appointment, to give time for listening and ministry without distractions.
3) Provide a follow up appointment if necessary, though these may be of shorter duration and should only be at the supplicant's request.
4) A team of at least two Well members are required to undertake home visits or visits to nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions. At least one member of this ministry team should be of the same gender as the supplicant.
5) The time, venue and name of supplicant should be recorded for all ministry visits and the Elder informed of names both of supplicant and those ministering.
5) Some Wells have developed a policy about how far they are prepared to travel to home visits. For example, anywhere within an hour's driving time.
6) Make sure that supplicants are given the contact details of those visiting, so that they can get in touch to ask for a follow up appointment, or report the good news of their healing
7) Provide advice/leaflets about what to do if healing is lost
VI. Outreach in local community – some ideas
- Networking and speaking in local church and Christian groups – e.g. Churches Together, Men's breakfast events or 'Filling Station' meetings
- Take part in local events and prayer marquees, offering information about the Order.
- Advertise events on OJW website (The new website holds information on each of the Wells.)
- Articles in Church magazines and submissions to local papers
- Local Christian radio – often are looking for speakers
- Local posters and church notice boards
VII. Financial arrangements
- It is advisable to have a named Well member to act as treasurer for the group.
- Records of donations to and outgoings from the Well should be kept
- Some, but not all Wells have a designated bank account
- Now that OJW is a registered company limited by guarantee, it is preferable that where expenses (e.g. concerning the annual gathering) are to be settled by the Order these bills/accounts should be sent direct to the Order of Jacob's Well Trust Ltd, rather than settled by the Well and then reclaimed.
- If accounts are settled by a Well and then reclaimed from the Order there may be a tax implication, and records of such a transaction should be kept for six years. This also applies to orders of items such supplied by the Order without charge such as books, leaflets and pamphlets.
- Should Well members wish to give a donation/set up a Standing Order in favour of OJW they may do so using the following bank details:
Barclays Bank PLC,
14 Commercial Street,
Sort code: 20-45-45
Account Number: 43298728
Elders are asked to provide a report on Well activities before each convocation. The following examples of subjects for record keeping have been suggested:
- Dates of events – Services/ministry appointments/team meetings
- Details of the team
- A brief account of each team meeting
- Details of occasional and unexpected meetings
- Testimonies and positive outcomes of prayer ministry
- Negative outcomes
- Finances (see above)
From 1st April 2018 insurance has been arranged through Markel Insurance Direct UK, which deals with insurance for Limited Companies acting as Charities.
Our Insurance Cover is:
£2,000,000 – Public Liability/Products Liability
£10,000,000 – Employers Liability which covers volunteers
£500,000 – Professional Indemnity
£250,000 – Directors and Officers Liability
Those insured are the Prior, Trustee/Directors, Elders and those (normally the Brothers and Sisters) nominated by each Well.
N.B. When hiring a hall or room it is not sufficient to rely on the Public Liability Insurance of the letting organisation.
- Any ministry taking place outside a church situation should be covered by DBS checks as by definition the team will be visiting a vulnerable adult
- The team should consist of two people, one of whom (normally the Elder or a Brother or Sister within the Order) should be DBS checked and hold a current certificate
The trustees have recommended that:
1) All Elders, Brother and Sisters and Trustees should be DBS checked and this will be arranged using CARECHECK as the organising body. Only Basic checks are required for the work we do. (www.carecheck.co.uk)
2) The Trustees will organise the DBS checking process and this will be funded by the Order.
3) Although members may already hold DBS checks through their own churches, OJW ministry should be covered by a separate DBS check organised through CARECHECK (see above)
4) It is the Well Elder who is responsible for notifying the Directors of the Brothers and Sisters requiring DBS checks, so that their names and details can be submitted to CARECHECK
5) It is easier for each person requiring a DBS check to enter their own details online. The OJW reference is 'ORDEROFJACOBSWELLMONTHLY'. There is no organisation code, so this can be left blank.
6) Identity checking for those requiring DBS checks will be delegated to the Elder of their local well, who will liaise with either Rev. Nick Hawkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) , or Geraldine Elliot-Smith (email@example.com) who are nominated to complete the online ID check.
X. Managing discord or disagreement within the team
(N.B. The Order's teaching is based on the beliefs of the Founder)
- Wherever possible disagreements and concerns should be managed amicably by discussion which includes the Elder in charge of the Well.
- Concerns may be brought before the Lord during times of prayer at Well meetings, provided praying out loud does not cause a breach of confidentiality.
- It is important that our practice in the Wells does not become 'off message' (for example, instead of proclaiming prayer becomes Intercessory, 'Come Holy Spirit' etc.) If an Elder is concerned that a Brother, Sister or Associate is not following the teaching/guidelines laid down by the Order, he or she should try to resolve this by discussion with the person concerned, and/or by providing additional teaching.
- If this person still refuses to change, or if the Elder has other concerns (e.g. about their mental health) an Elder from another Well may be invited to mediate. If the problem remains unresolved, the person may be asked to leave the Well and possibly also the Order.
- If a Brother, Sister or Associate is unhappy with the conduct or teaching of their Elder and this cannot be resolved by discussion within the group, then the Well member may bring his or her concerns to the Prior and/or Convocation of Elders.