How in the World Can I Get Started?

Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’  Luke 10:3-5 ESV

One question I have often been asked, is “Pastor Pete all of this you are saying about nursing home ministry sounds great, but how do I fit in? How can I get started?” When Jesus asked people to spread the gospel, He didn’t just send them out willy-nilly. He had specific instructions and a strategy for them to follow. He helped them know where to begin. So where can you get started? Of course, there isn’t a single answer, but here are three ways. that I hope will encourage you to launch out in the challenge and adventure of long-term care ministry.

Step OnePersonal Connections – The easiest place to start is with friends, family members or other people who you know at church. There is no barrier in visiting people with whom you have a personal connection. The key is to do it consistently. Just as no flower will continue to bloom until it has remained rooted in one spot and been fertilized and watered over a period of time. Don’t give up. I began 35 years ago by visiting a friend who because of a stroke had to move to a nursing home. After a few visits, he asked me to bring in my guitar to play a couple of songs. The people in the next room heard the music and asked if they could come in, and one year later we were having weekly meetings with a dozen people. Did I plan on it happening? Did I even know what I was doing?! absolutely not! I had no idea, but I just plugged away at what God had asked me to do and doors began to open.

Step Two – By Invitation – It doesn’t matter much where we live, how old we are or how much money we make – all of us receive junk mail! In these letters, we are invited to buy life insurance, sell our home or get a free lunch while we listen to someone tell us about cremation! There is no lack of invitations and once you get started doing volunteer work on a regular basis there will be no lack of opportunities to serve in your community. Two of the four communities that I visit today asked me to come because they heard through the grapevine that I was volunteering at another facility. Now don’t sit home waiting for this to happen unless you have already tried step one.

Step 3 – Knocking on the Door – If you have ever done any kinds of sales work, you know that the most emotionally challenging sales presentation is the cold call. A cold call means just knocking on a door and hoping that the person on the other side will be willing to listen to you rather than slamming the door! But it really isn’t as hard as it seems. Most activities directors are delighted to accept a volunteer who will fulfill a need at their facility. Here are a few things I have seen other volunteers do: Offer free hair styling once a week – lead a ladies bible study – bring a comfort animal in (I have seen dogs, cats and even a miniature horse!) Yes, you will need to do some paperwork, just like applying for a part time job, but it will be worth it. What you do and the talents you possess are far less important than the relationships you will build with people. No one ever said it would be fast or easy. But if you are willing to commit for the long haul, you will be able to build a bridge of friendship with people in long term care. Then when that bridge is finished you will be able to begin crossing it with the good news of the hope of Jesus Christ.

Final words – Don’t give up. It will be worth it all. Most importantly in the end you will begin to plunge a little deeper into the love of Jesus and grow closer to the one who left heaven to come and visit you in this long-term care facility called earth!

Author: pastorpete51

My wife and I serve as members of a worship team at a multicultural church. Our members are from Brazil, Nepal and the U.S.. Because of the many languages and cultures in our local body we face unique challenges, such as how many songs will we do in English today? What new songs can we use in either language that are simple enough for the people to sing. The songs, the devotions and insights here are a small portion of some of the ways God is leading us as we push towards the goal. I pray that these will be both a blessing and an encouragement for those of you who may pass by Praise 2 Worship.

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