I loved this short video which Joni has on her You-tube channel. Though she is aiming it towards children, the lessons it teaches are for adults as well. You see, when we go into the Nursing Home to minister, eye contact is one of the most valuable gifts anyone can give. Eye contact says to that person, “You matter” and affirms that they are uniquely important to God.
Even when our residents cannot see well, they can still sense when we are speaking to them from the “Eye contact zone”. This is a zone of focus. This is a zone where we are genuinely listening to what they have to say. This is the zone that brings us close enough to lay a hand on their shoulder, give a warm handshake of greeting or a kiss to their forehead.
If you are new to nursing home ministry or if you have been faithfully serving for many years, take extra time to think about giving eye contact to people this week. It will bless others and as we look closely into the face of someone we may find that we will see the eyes of Jesus looking back into ours.
Matthew 25:45 He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Because Easter is so early this year we started late on preparing a program. I am sharing this post for those of you who may be facing a similar situation. Here are a few practical steps we are walking through in these weeks leading up to the night of our presentation.
First, I needed to get people on board from our church who would be available and willing to volunteer. Our teens are still pretty psyched up about what we did at Christmas so with just a little checking with their leaders we had a small group ready to jump in.
Second I needed to clear with Erin, the head of the recreation department at Allied Skilled nursing, the date and time that was available on their calendar.
Third (probably sounds less spiritual this way) I prayed and earnestly asked God what He had in mind this Easter. You see it is my way of thinking that God has already called us to go anywhere there is an open door. What we do need to pray about however; is what do we do once we walk through that door!
As I prayed I felt a hesitation of simply jumping into a full length passion play or some abbreviated version of such. Then as my heart quieted God directed my mind to the last supper. Then ideas began tumbling in as I pictured the young people coming in in groups of two and three and with each verse of the song preparing and sitting down at the table.
Since we began working seriously together the group who join us keeps growing both in number and in commitment to the opportunity to share the love of Christ as best we can with the residents at Allied. If you have an open door in your community and the nutshell of an idea to do something there don’t hesitate to just go out and do your best.
We aren’t professionals, we don’t know all the answers and we sometimes sound like we are struggling (we are!). But in spite of all our short comings we have discovered a great joy in being a small part of God’s work in our city. The residents look forward to the group coming and even remember some of them by name. The people who have joined together, both young and old to form our outreach ministry have each been challenged both to grow and to work together as a team.
Whatever your situation in your community ask God for new eyes to see the needs of others and to find how we as a part of His church can share the message of Easter.
He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.
The most important thing to remember when ministering in music at the nursing home is that songs can help us all connect to heaven!
Wanting to get started in nursing home ministry and unsure where to begin? Our workbook containing seven sessions for a group wanting to get involved will be free beginning tomorrow until March 2nd. We have used this at our church and have a small but active group that has completed the training. Try it out. Let us know what you think. Be blessed!