Back to Basics in Nursing Home Ministry

 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly – 1 Peter 5:2 ESV

After a three week pause due to both my wife and I contracting this last form of Covid, I was delighted to get back visiting a couple of the facilities this week. The memory care wing of one home was open for business as usual, but the dining room where we normally meet at another was still closed due to their own outbreak. Thankfully with the aid of an n-95 mask and the kind guidance of one of the nurses I was shepherded to various individual rooms to visit. The experience was exhausting but rewarding and it brought me back to those first few years, when I either visited very small facilities or in private rooms of people in larger homes. It reminded me why nursing home ministry is important what really matters. Whether you are just getting started or are considering beginning again in nursing home ministry, the Apostle Peter gives us all some great guidance for how we ought to serve.

Shepherding – The people God sends us to, whether they are in a church congregation, a prison or a nursing home are first of all His flock. They are God’s sheep so how we value folks and the way we treat them begins with remembering who they belong to. Whether God is sending us to only a few or even just one makes no difference in the way we care for, pray for, and minister to God’s people.

Willingly – The key difference between under compulsion and willingly is what are the rewards and benefits. Showing up for work and punching the clock at the factory, the office or the store on Monday morning isn’t because we don’t have anywhere else to go. A day at the beach, fishing or out on the golf course would be a lot more fun, but we have these tiny things called bills to pay at the end of the month. So out the door we trudge, day after day and that is a good thing. But it isn’t what God has in mind when it comes to ministering to His people. There are some positions that should and do pay a decent salary in God’s kingdom work, but even for those in full time ministry, the paycheck cannot be the proper incentive for serving God’s flock. Whatever our position, we will give our best for God’s service when we do it out of the love God has put in our hearts for His children.

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Eagerly – is the difference between – we can’t wait to get finished, and we can’t wait to get started in God’s service. Now, I love football and am so excited that the college football season is beginning this week. Watching the players run out onto the field at the beginning of each game is usually quite a show. The players run out onto the field with great fanfare and celebration. They are jumping and giving high fives and smiling to the crowd. They just can’t wait for the game to start! Is that the way we are heading towards the pulpit, the chapel service or the hospital visit? Of course, the needs we are called to meet are not always happy high-five ones, but the intensity and love of serving God’s people should be as equally motivating. We cannot wait to begin to encourage, pray for, sing to or even simply listen to people whom God has entrusted to our care. Now that’s back to basics and it is a blessing to be reminded that no matter our area of service, the crown of life God has promised us remains the same.

To learn more about how you can get involved in nursing home ministry you might consider checking out our new book on walking with God’s lambs.

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.

6 thoughts on “Back to Basics in Nursing Home Ministry”

  1. Love this post. I completely agree with you. These points apply to our lives daily. How we serve the Lord every day, especially when no one is watching. Thank you for your ministry to those often forgotten in Nursing Homes. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on praise2worshipdotnet and commented:

    It takes time to get a ship back out to sea after it has been ties up at the dock for a while. Maybe some of you are going through this process in your place of service. I would love to hear how God is helping some of you in this. Have a blessed week all!


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