Nursing home ministry

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by milby, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. milby

    milby
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    Our church is starting a nursing home ministry in a couple weeks. I am super excited about this as I have felt a calling to minister to the elderly for a while now. (I am not a preacher or public speaker though)

    I would love to hear some of your experiences or advice on this particular ministry.
     
  2. abcgrad94

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    God bless you for your burden in this area! In a time where reaching the youth at the expense of neglecting the elderly is common, your enthusiasm for the older folks is refreshing.

    My Granny was in a nursing home the last few years of her life. It meant so very much to her when someone would come and lead a Sunday service there. The singing and preaching was a blessing to her and I am so thankful for those who did it.
     
  3. gb93433

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    When I was a college student i did that for two years as part of a ministry among college students. I learned a lot. My wife's mother is in a home with Alzheimers and will probably not reach one more year. In that home are special people who obviously are well equipped to work there.

    I would encourage you to take some young people with you. It will grab their attention and help them to see that life is finite. It will also help them to serve the older.

    A few years ago I pastored a church that had a lady who cared for her elderly grandmother in earlier years. She started a ministry where people would call each other every day to check up on them. There was also a group of ladies who were mostly in their 70s and 80s who cleaned home and gave the elderly dignity in their home. Out of that came something I never expected. Somehow a few neighbors found out and started coming to the church. I even received a call from a family about 180 miles away and expressed their thanks because they knew one of the ladies being cared for from their youth. Such a simple care ministry started reaching others we did not know.
     
  4. glfredrick

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    I expect that a lot of the pastors on the board have experience with this. Only they don't have to travel to nursing homes to do it. With the average age of many congregations they nursing home comes to the church building. :laugh:

    Actually, I see the elderly in America (and around the world) as an unreached people group. They are also most likely the demographic most likely to pass away on any given day.

    I've considered for some time a church plant that targeted the elderly on purpose. Do what seems right, culturally, to the elderly of our population, preach the gospel. See souls saved, baptized, and brought into fellowship that they desperately need. Then prepare them for ministry to their friends and neighbors.

    Yes, the congregation would find a lot of turnover in membership. So be it. Get GOOD at preaching the gospel and ministering to those who are at the end of life and turn around the statistic that most persons accept Christ before they turn 18 years of age.
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    There are many ways to do nursing home ministry, so don't be afraid to be creative. However the greatest need is to serve the people who are there in love.

    Many years ago I was given some advice/insight from a man who had years of nursing home experience that I believe is the most important thing you can physically do for people for whom you minister in that environment:

    Touch them

    Now, they are touched all the time by institutional care givers, but they are touched because it is part of the job of the caregiver to take care of the physical needs of the patients. However, everyone knows that healthcare treatment is not personal... the residents are touched only when necessary. Furthermore, because of their physical/mental condition, people are often reluctant to touch the residents.

    When I was don't nursing home ministry on a more regular basis, I would walk into the room and shake the hand of the resident and not automatically draw my hand back. Much more often than not, the resident would want to hold my hand (male and female) throughout the visit because it was the only true personal human interaction they had experienced in a long time.

    Here's a few more thoughts:

    While you are there, be honest about yourself and them - be real. Don't be Pollyanna about their limitations and/or the reality of their situation. And don't pretend to be something that you're not. Most of these folks are going to be savvy people - lots of life experience - and they will spot a phony immediately.

    Don't talk to them like children or in a patronizing tone, ask about what they are doing, what they are thinking about, their interests. There's a good chance they don't have many people (other than perhaps some family members) who are truly interested in them.

    Ask them for their help. So many people in that position in life, who still have their wits about them, are very depressed because they feel useless and "out to pasture." As them to pray for you (or other needs) in specific ways. Not only does this give them a sense of purpose, it also directs them to God and builds up a mighty prayer army. There was a time when I had probably two dozen very senior men and women praying for my pastoral ministry and for my personal spiritual growth, and believe me, it made a difference. It was wonderful to be able to go back and report God's answers to their prayers.

    Ask to pray for their needs/concerns. Take a notebook and write down the prayer needs of the residents. Pray for those needs and then follow up with the residents on your next visit. They will appreciate your concern and God will honor your prayers for them. Furthermore, you will develop a personal relationship with each one of those precious people that will bless both of you.
     
    #5 Baptist Believer, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  6. gb93433

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    Many of them are of that age. When I was pastoring my insurance was outrageous compared to when I was not. I asked the insurance agent about why. He told me that many take advantage of mental health.

    There are couples who travel to the southern US just for the reason of reaching people. Many travel to the warm areas in the winter to party and some end up finding Jesus.
     
  7. Iconoclast

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    Use large print hymnals

    Use large print bible verses......maybe on an overhead projector, or those power point computer projectors[I am not sure what they are called]

    Speak loudly and make eye contact....

    Not longer than 20 minutes....present the blood of Christ as the only way.

    As much as is possible ...set up one on one follow ups

    When speaking of sin...deal with the internal aspects of sin....they might be old and not able to go out and rob the bank...but mentally they can muse about all manner of sins....

    Focus on one or two main thoughts....do not over load them...some will doze off no matter what.

    as you establish your self among them...some time have a period of open Q+A.

    Pray much that the seed of the word will take root.

    Also be mindful of unsaved staff members or visiting relatives who also desperatly need the word.:type:
     
  8. evangelist6589

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    I have much experience in this form of ministry. Some advice.

    1. Sing good hymns
    2. Speak loud when preaching
    3. Make your messages simple and relevant to the audience. DO NOT preach a sermon on the theology of the OT, the theology of Joshua or some other academic subject. Make your sermons topical and applicable for the audience.
    4. Be polite and kind to everyone and have a desire to be there. DO NOT act like you do not care as it will show, regardless of what you say.
    5. If you cant avoid it preach from the KJV. Your audience probably grew up with the KJV and will be able to relate. If you can avoid it then use the NIV, the ESV, etc..



    John
     
    #8 evangelist6589, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2012

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