Over the next twenty years the population of nursing home residents ages 65 and over will nearly double. Aging Baby Boomers will further increase the strain on already crowded and understaffed care facilities. Sadly, many of the more that 72 million nursing home residents by the year 2030 will be very lonely and isolated–as are nursing home residents today. In fact, many of these residents will be disconnected from family, the church, and the Good News of Jesus Christ. Too many live that way right now.
What if local churches decided to do something about this? What if local churches resolved to make every area nursing home a satellite church? The idea may not strike people as edgy and daring. It may not make missional headlines at the next church planting conference. You may not be able to publish a book, get your nose pierced, or celebrate your outreach with a new tattoo. But reaching the lost who are closer to heaven–actuarially speaking–than anyone else is not only worthy, it’s essential.
We have established a 3-phase model for launching nursing care churches, and we’ve made it as simple and easy-to-maintain as possible. If your church is interested in launching a satellite congregation at a nursing home near your campus, give us a call!
THREE-PHASE MODEL FOR STARTING A NURSING CARE CHURCH
Phase I – Contact LINC, and we’ll help you get the ball rolling.
Through whatever mode of communication your congregation is most comfortable with, we’ll help you to get a small group together to BE your church at a neighborhood nursing home on a regular Sunday morning; perhaps before, after, or between services. Perhaps weekly or monthly.
Resources provided by LINC: sheet music for 2-3 hymns, the lectionary readings, a devotion (written by LINC or LCMS), a reproducible order of worship, and prayers to read aloud. LINC will also provide any kind of training your church feels it needs or wants. LINC will do all initial scheduling with volunteers as well as leg-work with activity directors at nursing home(s) until the congregation is comfortable taking that on.
People needs: One to play instrument (piano or guitar, or strong vocal to sing a cappella), 1 to read devotion, 3 to read lectionary readings, 1 to lead prayers, 5-10 others of any age to just come follow along. (10-15 total, can be a different crew each time, though some regulars would be ideal.)
Phase II – Once Phase I is comfortably established, add a monthly “family game night” into the mix – not on your church’s property, but at the nursing home. But instead of just limiting to residents and church members, invite the COMMUNITY to be a part of it, too (flyers in neighborhood, mailer, door-to-door invites, etc.).
Phase III – The sooner the better! If Phase I was implemented as a monthly event, move it up to twice a month or more. Take your Sunday school Christmas program, choir and handbells, etc. “on the road” for a performance at the nursing home. Go caroling there as a congregation. Have the youth visit and bring their pets along. Make Valentine cards and hand deliver them. Consider developing other projects, such as a senior citizens’ prom. Have your regular small groups consider meeting at the nursing home and including the residents in Bible study. There are so many ways to love God by loving these people!