The following phrase does not necessarily have to be true of your homebound members:
Out of sight. Out of mind.
When faithful members become physically unable to attend, we have a choice. We can either focus on attenders (while ignoring dropouts), or we can extend our ministry to continue to contact and care for those who are no longer able to attend, including those who are homebound.
How do you want to be treated when YOU are homebound: physically no longer able to attend? If you want relationships and care to continue, NOW is the time to launch or strengthen homebound ministry.
WHO ARE HOMEBOUND? They are not just the aged. Consider the following:
- a young woman going through a difficult pregnancy,
- a man in mid-life who has suffered a serious car or work injury,
- a teen suffering from cancer,
- a woman in mid-life suffering from chronic fatigue,
- a stroke victim,
- those in short or long-term care facilities,
- those unable to care for themselves, and
- those no longer able to drive.
WHAT CAN WE DO? There are several key actions that ensure excellence. Consider the following:
- pray for His leadership and help,
- prayerfully enlist key leaders,
- gather a leadership team to identify homebound and plan response,
- enlist a group of homebound shepherds to make regular contact (more below),
- launch the ministry,
- gather every few months to evaluate and adjust.
HOMEBOUND SHEPHERD CARE. What would a shepherd be responsible to do?
- be responsible for 1-5 homebound persons,
- make regular visits (and contacts), ideally weekly,
- teach a brief Bible study addressing individual needs of homebound and caregiver,
- report contacts, care, and needs,
- gather for planning and training as scheduled.
For a good resource with more suggestions, check out How to Start and Maintain a Homebound Ministry. Have you begun to pray asking God to help you launch this ministry yet? Show you care. Lead. Enlist. Launch. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!