Faithful Friends Nursing Home Ministry

"Love Notes" Newsletter-The Sharing Place

Brother Ernie's Nursing Home Ministry

"May God Bless you in this vital ministry! As a young boy I would go with my dad to nursing homes and listen to him preach the gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ to the saints in that place. When the LORD also called me to preach, He also led me to be involved in ministering to His "most senior saints".

For the last four years we have held a weekly worship service at the largest Health Care Center here in Oklahoma City. A 364 bed facility called South Park Health Care Center. The Lord has truly blessed His ministry here. We've had as many as 60 residents in attendance and average around 30 each week. Over and over again we are told by the residents how important this worship service is to them. They tell us that if it were not for these services, they would have no place to go to church and worship the LORD.

They truly are "worship services", just like they've been used to all their lives. We sing their favorite hymns (accompanied by a piano), have a time of greeting and then preaching, followed by a time of prayer requests and prayer. Many family members of the residents also come regularly to worship with us. In case your interested, here's how we do it. Our worship services go from 9:00 to 10:00am every Sunday. At 8:30am several people come and help bring people to the dining room where we meet to worship. One of the advantages of this nursing home is that they have several large dining rooms. Because of this, we can hold our worship services in one that is out of the way, where there are fewer interruptions.

Our pianist also comes at 8:30am and begins playing so that people know there is something going on and don't leave before we can get everyone there and get started. The reason we start at 9:00am is so that those who come to help can do so and still get to their 9:30 Sunday School classes on time. At our church I am the Associate Pastor/Minister of Music. It is during our Sunday School time that I am at the nursing home leading the music and preaching. I then have plenty of time to get to Church to lead the music there or preach if necessary.

We get as many people involved as we can. One 94 year old pastor, Dr. Sam W. Scantlan, always prays the opening prayer, and when he prays you feel that he has come before the very throne of God, which of course he has. I believe that the way in which the LORD has blessed this ministry is a testimony to His faithfulness to His servants. Many of those who come to worship have served Him most of their lives. The LORD has not forgotten them. The LORD has also blessed us in the people He has involved in this ministry. Besides helping on Sunday morning, they also help with visitation, and hospital visits.

It is a privilege to serve the LORD in this minisrty. Never have we been so blessed or felt so loved by so many people. Well, I didn"t intend this message to be so long, but it's not often I have the opportunity to talk to someone of like mind concerning ministering to the elderly. Please pray that the LORD would get more churches involved in ministering to His saints living in nursing homes. The needs are almost overwhelming, but He is able! Again, God Bless you in the vital work you are doing.."

Brother Ernie Birchfield Carey Heights Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Faithful Friends Nursing Home Ministry
Larry & Sandy Wasserman
South Florida

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