Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:7 ESV
Joan* (not her real name) sits in the corner of the room in her wheel chair with a smile. She cannot make cookies any longer for the grandchildren. Joan will not go to choir practice or sing in the Easter pageant this year. In the harsh viewpoint of the world, Joan’s is a useless life. But when God looks down He sees a happy child who gave joy to her parents. He remembers a loving wife, a wise mother and a caring neighbor. Most of all God has engraved on His heart the very moment Joan gave her life to Him and today after more than 80 years it is still His. So when Jesus walks by her in the wheel chair He stops and delightedly gives her all His attention. Because in Joan Jesus sees not a life that is useless but a life that has been well lived and loved by God!
The pond is still warm enough to swim in and the willows have not even thought about turning to their Fall yellow wardrobe but it is not to early to begin planning your Thanksgiving program for nursing home!
Moms and Dads, Grampas and Grammas and yes even some sons and daughters will not be spending Thanksgiving with family because they are in long term skilled nursing care. Whatever the reason
they can not be with their own family, there is no reason in the universe that we can not plan on being a part of God’s family for them this year.
A) The first step is to right now go to your recreation department director and get on her or his busy calendar. It is never too early to reserve a day that will work best for you and your church team to go.
B) Spend time praying and then planning the best presentation you can put together. If you were doing for a program for your church you would do no less than your best. Consider investing in materials such as song books, costumes, or decorations. One big hit with our local nursing home is the cookies that the youth hand out after the program!
C) Assemble your team (even if that is just 2-3) and begin to practice-practice-practice what you have decided together to do. Plan on a program of about 20 – 25 minutes maximum. Whatever more time you have after doing your music, skits and devotional should be given to personal visiting. The more our team has been going back over these last few years, the more the nursing home residents begin to remember their names and faces. Some of our most shy team members are the biggest hits among residents. We have many materials available for you to use including, workbooks, guides and a variety of true stories to inspire you long your own ministry journey.
Here is a short video giving a few of the basics that may help you to prepare
Week One – Seeing the Need
If you have already read “Would You Do It For One?”, then you might ask, “Well I have already seen the need, why do I need this workbook?” The difference between reading the book and committing to this seven week course is the same as the contrast of what Jesus did when He met the woman at the well and what the disciples did that day. Jesus used for the opportunity to help just one person and he reached an entire village. The disciples went into the village without telling a single person about Jesus! Here is your challenge for week one. Meet one person who is a resident in a nursing home. If you already know someone (like a family member) and have visited on occasion, then dedicate this week to meeting someone new. After you have made your visit this week take some time and complete the homework project for this session
Get to know their world:
- Who else is visiting them and how often do they come?
- How many people are in the facility where they are living?
- Is their stay permanent or will they be going home?
- What is the name of the nurse for their unit? What are the names of the aides?
- What would they like you to do when you visit? (Read mail; pray; play cards; make a phone call?)
- Is there some small personal item they would like for you to bring in for them?
Get to know yourself
- What area did you have the biggest struggle with?
- What did you like the best?
- What ideas, plans or feelings changed as a result
- When will you visit next?
Week One – Homework
- Spend some time alone praying about what God is speaking to your heart
- Meet with your Pastor and ask what you could do to be involved in nursing home ministry
- Try to find at least one other person who would be willing to go with you
Get ready for the dance!
In our effort to continue to provide new and better training materials for the nursing home worker we are offering this newly updated and expanded training manual. To the older manual we have added three training sessions focused on music ministry in the nursing home. Anyone within our northeast region is also welcome to ask for us to come and to introduce the training materials in your local church. Our longing and desire as always remains to call attention to the overwhelming needs and challenges to service that lie just the other side of the four walls of your local nursing home.
Our new manual is available on Amazon under the title. “Would You Do It For One? Workbook” or you can follow the link below. Be blessed as you consider the calling to nursing home ministry.
lNursing Home Workers Training Manual