Step One – Read God’s Word
A Beginning Note
To begin your journey in fashioning your ministry in the long-term care arena, seriously consider the scriptures we have included below. Nursing home ministry is vitally important to those who need to be ministered to. The time it takes you to go through these passages will prove to be a worthwhile investment on behalf of those who wait for the blessing you bring them – given our Christian understanding that these are words from the mind of our Heavenly Father.
This list of Biblical passages, though not exhaustive, sheds light on God’s perspective on ministry to our elderly neighbors. As you contemplate this area of Christian service, please keep these scriptures in mind. Let the Lord speak to your heart through His written word. Share these passages of scripture with others who may be interested in participating with you in care facility ministry.
Scriptural Meditations on Ministry to the Elderly
(Taken from the King James Version.)
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. Job 12: 12
Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. Psalm 71: 9
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing. Psalm 92: 14
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25: 37-40
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. Luke: 6: 32-34
And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 1 Corinthians 12: 21-27
If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. 1 Timothy 5: 16
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1: 22-27
Step Two – Pray
Now, please, do two very important things:
(1) Sincerely pray and ask the Lord Jesus if this is something that He wants you to make a commitment to.
It is important to have some sense that this might be a ministry that you may pursue with God’s blessing. It is best not to take this for granted! You will be stepping out into a field of need that can overwhelm you if you do not go in His grace and with His direction. It will be of invaluable worth to you in the future if you have a sense that you are only one human being who is going in the strength of the Lord to participate in a ministry that He is responsible for. This is His business and you are only one player in a huge army of Christians. God does not want you to be the solution – He wants you to be a witness to the fact that HE is the solution to the needs of every one of His children, including those who live in nursing homes. If you get this lesson down pat you will be much more effective and consistent in your labor for Him.
(2) Approach your volunteering as a job assignment from Heaven.
Ask Jesus for His leading as you follow the path for this personal ministry. Because it would honor our Lord, volunteer to help the staff and the residents of the facility with a personal commitment to integrity, diligence and faithfulness, having a servant’s heart. It can be an unfortunate reproach on our Savior’s Name when a Christian volunteer or ministry makes a commitment to a facility and then follows through with tardiness, laziness and unfaithfulness. With these words in mind, prayerfully consider the following passages of scripture. (Taken from the King James Version)
. . . whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10: 31
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4: 11
Step Three – Do the Questionnaire
To do Step Three refer to the appropriate sections of this manual, your local phone book (if you have one), and/or a website that helps you find facilities near you like those whose links follow.
Click here to find nursing homes using the U. S. Government Medicare website.
Or, click the following link to “Find the Best Senior Care Providers By State”
Download the “.PDF” – “Care Facility Volunteer Questionnaire” – and make a copy of the worksheet and thoughtfully answer these basic questions before you call a care facility to volunteer.
The Questions on the “Care Facility Volunteer Questionnaire”:
What do I want to do as a volunteer in the facility? ( Make a list, if possible.)
What type(s) of facility do I want to work in?
Within what local geographic area do I want to volunteer?
Which specific facilities meet the previous two criteria? (List them with their phone numbers)
As you consider the following three questions, do NOT over commit yourself!
What day or days of the week — or month — or year — do I want to volunteer?
What time of day would be good for me to be there?
How many hours would I be able to commit to, comfortably, for each visit?
Step Four – Choose a Facility
Now that you have prayerfully filled out your “Care Facility Volunteer Questionnaire”…
1) Call the Activity Directors of the facilities of your choice.
2) Discuss with them how your interest to be involved would best assist the residents of their facility and fit into their activities calendar.
3) After carefully considering the response of each activity director . . .
4) Choose your facility.
5) Confirm your intentions with that activity director.
Step Five – Go to Your Pastor
Make a copy of the “Pastors Recommendation Form”. Go to your Pastor and tell him about your desire and plan to minister in a care facility. After going over your specific intentions with your Pastor, make any adjustments as necessary. You and your Pastor will then fill out the “Pastors Recommendation Form”
Information requested on the “Pastors Recommendation Form”:
Full Name (please print): _________________________________________________________
Home Address: ________________________________
Daytime Phone No. _______________________
Evening Phone No. _______________________
Care Facility Where I Wish to Volunteer: _____________________________________________
Address of Facility: _________________________________________
Phone Number of Facility:_____________
Activity Director’s Name: ______________________
Activities I Wish to Volunteer for: ________________________
Hours I Anticipate Being Available Each Month: ______________
Candidate’s Signature: __________________________________________
Dear Activity Director,
I have been the Pastor of _________________________________________________________
for ________ yrs. / mos. (circle one). I attest to their participation in good standing within the fellowship of our local congregation. In my opinion, this person would be a satisfactory candidate for volunteering at your facility for the above mentioned activities for the hours each month as indicated.
Pastor’s Full Name (please print): __________________________________________________
Ordained / Licensed (Circle one) by Whom? _________________________________________
Church Name: _________________________________________________________________
Church Address: ____________________________________________
Phone Number (s): ______________________________________________________________
Pastor’s Signature: _____________________________________________
Step Six – Go to the Facility
Deliver the completed Pastor’s Recommendation Form to the activity director of the facility of your choice.
Fill out the appropriate volunteer application as required by the activity director.
Most facilities require volunteer evaluations and/or applications to aid them in placing you in the most appropriate role in their program. Often, the activity director offers training and orientation classes for volunteers. Please accept these processes as part of your opportunity to serve. Try not to look at them as obstacles. Remember, the staff of the facility is responsible for what you do while in their facility. Be cooperative and understanding during your orientation procedures. Approach orientation as a valuable learning experience.
Some facilities require yearly medical evaluations and tests such as a PPD test for tuberculosis. These are usually provided at the facility without cost to the volunteer. Cooperate fully with these tests as part of your responsibility – they are for the good of the residents you love and may also benefit you greatly.
Step Seven – Begin Your Ministry
The process that we recommend here is well worth the effort. When you get to know the sweet folks that are waiting for you to brighten up their day, you will fully agree. Study the other material in this handbook, especially Chapter 9, “Profile of the Care Facility Population.”
You could skip the bulk of the first five steps in these procedures, but you would rob yourself of the benefit of really thinking through your interests and level of commitment. The Church will be better served, the Lord’s Name will be better honored, and the residents will enjoy your faithfulness and dedication if you will take the little extra time and effort required to follow our simple steps for volunteering. Do it, and make some hard working activity director’s day! If, along the way, you have any questions, please call us at Christian Concourse (757- 714-3133) and we will be glad to help if we can. Thanks, and God bless you.