Monday, March 04, 2013

When we serve others we are most like our Lord

I recently performed a graveside service for one of our church members. I never met her as she had been in a nursing home in another city for many years. Her children had moved away decades ago and only a few church members remembered her.

Her daughter told me that she and her mom appreciated the cards and newsletters that had been sent over the years. It kept her connected to the love of her church and reminded her of the love of our Lord.

Caring for our shut-ins, widows and sick is a major part of the ministry of Baptist Temple. Our deacons and their wives take the lead but other partners in this task include our Seniors Ministry, Sunday School and Youth. These caring individuals make hospital visits, send cards of encouragement, make minor repairs, clean homes and yards, visit the home bound and so much more.

A few years ago one of our Sunday school teachers was concerned that an elderly class member was absent. She never missed class and was not answering her phone. A home visit after church that Sunday revealed that the woman had fallen and injured herself. The Sunday school teacher's timely visit, saved the woman's life.

The Bible is filled with admonitions for God's people to care for widow's and orphans, visit the sick, and remember the elderly. This type of ministry is vital to the life of a church.

A widow once told me that she had once been very active in her church but, when her husband became sick with the ailment that eventually took his life, she had to cut back her involvement. Her church friends kept up with her for awhile but began to drift away as they became busy with their own lives. She was eventually forgotten and, after her husbands death, she never went back. She was not bitter; it was just one of those things.

In order for such a ministry to function, it must be intentional and keep the group from becoming focused on side issues that are less important.
  1. Mission Statement: There must be a clearly stated mission to care for the widows, single moms, elderly, home bound and hospitalized.
  2. Encouragement: Testimonies from individuals who are performing this ministry will serve as role models and encourage others.
  3. Training: Regular training in such areas hospital visitation, counseling, conflict resolution, understanding the needs of the elderly, grief, etc. will improve the ministry.
  4. Accountability: Members of this ministry need to report on activities and hold each other accountable.
  5. Record Keeping: A list of home bound is a minimal requirement to help ensure that no one is forgotten. Other records include visits made, cards sent, elderly and single moms needing help with house repairs and cleaning.

When we serve others we are most like our Lord.
 The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  Matthew 25:40

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