As many in our congregation grow in age, many will eventually find it harder to come to church and join in the activities that we offer. Some have physical limitations of mobility and other are no longer able to drive themselves. These are our golden age members, the older seniors, the ones who have served before us, and are the saints of Lakeview. We currently have nearly 35 who are not able to be with us on a regular basis.
The pastoral staff tries to visit every month, family members and friends try to keep in contact with them. Life tends to limit visits sometimes and unintentionally someone seldom gets a visit or a phone call for some time period. We are the Church, all of us, and to someone not able to come each week or not at all, we are their link to the body of Christ. We are called to be shepherds of the flock—to watch over our members and to share the love of Christ with them.
Making a connection with one of our seniors may improve their quality of life. Time is something they have and we all can help to fill the void where depression, isolation and loneliness may be a part of their daily lives. Socialization also improves memory, communication skills and brain health in our seniors. Taking time to connect with our shut-ins makes them feel valued and a part of the church when they are not able to come on a regular basis. When visiting, ask them about their past involvement in the ministries of the church, be an encourager to help keep their spirits up, pray with them and for their family, share your life story, or how God is using you and working in your life. This experience is a win for both the visitor and shut-in.
As a pastor, many of those I visit build me up and minister to me. And we have some who need significant encouragement from us. Either way we look at it, a visit is a win for everyone involved. We need more shepherds representing our ministry to our shut-ins. It builds up the body of Christ. Jesus is the Great Shepherd to all, and he is the greatest example of how we as believers are to be the light in the darkest of places. So, let us ask ourselves, “Who needs a visit?” We all can figure this question out. We can all do our part. It’s never too late to become a voice for the church. It’s never too late to invite others into a vital ministry of the church. The best gift we can give our elderly…is our time.
Jim Sonnefield, Assistant Pastor