Convalescent Home Ministry

by Kevin Au

As a body of believers, we are constantly challenged to love and serve one another. We have been particularly challenged recently, in light of Romans 12, to consider how to be devoted to each other in brotherly love and to give preference to one another. Though the mercies of God ought to be the driving force behind these actions, when we consider all the ways we are blessed by our fellow Christians, serving each other seems to be logical, appropriate, and to some extent, even easy. While we are commanded specifically to love each other in the church, we are also called to love those outside the church. In most cases, we are less tangibly blessed by our efforts to love those outside the church, so loving people becomes quite a new challenge, and when we consider those that can give us nothing in return for our love, the quality of our love is tested, and the character and integrity of our love is revealed.

This is a regular struggle for those who participate in the convalescent home ministry. Being a part of this ministry means interacting with people who are physically and mentally unable to even care for themselves, let alone someone else. Many are even unable to coherently understand the clearest explanation of the Gospel. Loving them means deliberately and purposefully sacrificing time and energy for someone who will not be able to tangibly repay you.

The ministry at Mission Hills Health Care in the Hillcrest area revolves around group activities that take place one Saturday a month, with a second event every other month. These activities, planned and run by members of LBC, typically include a time for crafts, times of singing, sharing of devotionals, as well as ample time to personally interact with the residents and share the Word of God with them. Participants especially appreciate the consistency that the ministry offers. While spontaneity and inconsistency are characteristic of other local outreach ministries, there is consistency in seeing the same people over multiple trips to the convalescent home, giving more potential to the task of discipleship as relationships can develop over time. Since few of the residents are believers, the current focus of the ministry remains evangelism and the sharing of the gospel of Christ in an understandable manner. All this is done in light of the ideal goal of having mature believers living at the facility who can minister as insiders and be a light within the nursing home, without dependence on our church members.

These would have the testimony of Christ in the character of their day to day lives, as well as be more consistent and accessible than the limited activities our church can provide.

The ministry does have its share of struggles. Many have expressed the discouragement of not seeing the fruit of their efforts, even though they have tried to explain the same things to the same people time and again. There is also the challenge of trying to accommodate schedules around other commitments and church activities on Saturdays while at the same time trying to promote more involvement from the church. These issues make consistency from participants a primary struggle as well. Yet, despite these struggles, there has been encouragement through the ministry. Through open communication, there has been a change in attitude in the staff of the nursing home, to a point where the group from our church is openly welcomed and even encouraged to come. This has opened doors to even be able to witness to members of the staff as well.

The residents themselves also enjoy the activities and they look forward to seeing our church come and visit them, often expressing their happiness in seeing groups come for Saturday events. While it is a challenge to make the time there more than just a time to cater to them, there is a welcoming attitude among many of the residents. Those who have been going out to the convalescent home regularly have been greatly challenged in their faith and their own witness. Though they haven’t seen as much progress in many of the residents, the way that this ministry has helped their own walks has been valuable. Some have learned to persevere and the importance of remaining faithful to the Word, as well as exercising the faith needed to remain committed to a ministry despite discouragement, trusting God and knowing that people turning from their sins and towards His Son is ultimately His work. It has been a humbling yet profitable time as some have learned how to better point to Christ rather than themselves, both in action and in attitude.

The ministry as a whole is looking for more commitment from those who do take the time to attend the events, as well as participation from those in the church who might not have had the chance to get involved yet. As the ministry becomes more structured there are many opportunities for more people in the church to get involved and serve. It is by no means an easy ministry, but the convalescent home presents church members with a place to exercise their faith and evangelism, and show the love of Christ in a very real way.

For more information on the ministry, please speak to Teddy Yu.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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