It’s been quite a while since I released anything new on Nursing Home Ministry. This book New Beginnings in Care Ministry gives a wider view of Long Term Care ministry than what I have written in the past. If your life has been touched by long term care, through a family member, your job or as a volunteer I pray that this short collection of stories and insights will be a blessing. This is available in both softcover and E-book formats through Amazon.
I coined the term care worker to indicate that long term care ministry encompasses as wide a field as being a care giver. Whether we are making a hospital visit, spending time with a shut-in or singing for a special needs child we all share something in common. We are providing a shepherd’s care.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Genesis 4:9
Cain’s 6,000 year old question reflects in a strange way his brother Abel’s vocation as a keeper of sheep. His bitter rejection of any responsibility as a care giver is still being asked in our society today. When does God expect us to provide shepherd’s care for someone else? The answer is “Any time we can”. God has given us opportunities in our community to serve as care workers. We do not need to wait till by necessity we are “care givers” for a friend or family member. Any day is a good day to be a shepherd. There is no experience required and free training is always available!
The change in name of this web-site does not mean we are going to stop sharing about nursing home ministry but rather that there will now be included different types of similar outreach to. Right now the entire traditional nursing home as an institution is undergoing change at an amazing pace. Each year new places are opening offering specialized facilities such as assisted living; memory care along with skilled nursing. While some assisted living communities are beginning to resemble 5 star resorts while others are far more plain and cater to those with mental and physical disabilities.
What these changes mean for those of us who are volunteering is that we need to adapt and prepare for the new and more complex world of long term care. Someone once told me that during times of change it is important to know that what is happening is not what is going on. What we need to do is to see what is really going on!
Decades ago the emergence of large skilled nursing institutions at first created barriers between the church and the people behind those walls which often left residents feeling isolated and alone. But when we changed our approach to reaching our neighbors behind inside those places we discovered that inside those facilities were new and unique opportunities to serve.
New Beginnings is an effort to shed light on the latest developments in long term care along with ways to continue sharing the love of God in those new settings. Today I’ll simply begin with the term “Nursing home ministry” and offer a suggestion that we instead begin to call our various outreaches “Care ministry”.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:14 ESV
Our work is “Care Ministry” because no matter where we serve or what title we hold our purpose as God’s servants is to show His love (care) by washing feet. Foot washing means meeting ordinary needs for the extraordinary reason of the love of Jesus Christ. When we meet the needs of others it won’t really matter where we meet them. Whether that location looks like a resort or a last resort; the people who live there need to know that God still remembers and cares about them. He is just as concerned with the rich as the poor. God is equally burdened for the intelligent as for the mentally challenged. Not a single sparrow escapes his attention. When we show we care in a thousand different ways we are in fact serving in “Care Ministry”.
If you have stories of your own as a volunteer in any area of care ministry I invite you over the next weeks and months to share your own stories here. If we would connect with one another; together we can all learn how to better wash the feet of people in our own city, town or village.