Cross Generational Missions & Ministry: Take Sophomores to Seniors

Nursing homes and senior living centers are the last stop for many before entering eternity. We don’t always think of a nursing home as a target for evangelism, but perhaps it should bubble up to the top of our urgency list for sharing the gospel. Our presence there could ripple out to also impact family members of residents, visitors, and staff members. A nursing home is a fabulous place for doing missions!

Scripture calls us, as older men and women, to mentor and disciple the next generation. While we may feel a call to do it, we are often confounded in exactly how to make it happen. Millennials (those born after 1980) value authenticity and embrace hands-on service. What better way to mentor and disciple the next generation than to serve alongside them? Pulling in high school students to partner with us will not only bring youthful enthusiasm to a geriatric community but also provide opportunities to train the next generation for kingdom work. Here is a plan for making it happen:

  • Contact a local nursing home and ask for a list of residents who would be good candidates for a weekly visit.
  • Host a kickoff dessert or pizza party for high school sophomores in your church. (If you feed them, they will come!)
  • Cast vision for the ministry and share some general highlights about the loneliness that plagues many nursing home residents.
  • Challenge students to commit to a 1-hour weekly visit.
  • Pair each student with an adult partner who will take the lead.
  • Assign each team to a resident.
  • Host a training session to share ideas for ministering to seniors. For example, encourage the teams to listen by asking questions about their resident’s life, the photos on their wall, their family, etc.
  • Meet each week for a brief time of prayer before sending the teams off to visit their assigned resident.
  • Consider planning a quarterly testimony time with volunteers to share stories of their service together and pray specifically with and for one another. Celebrate the value of life and the gift of life. Encourage one another in this special ministry. Close by reading this passage and praying for the volunteers: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. . . . And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. . . . And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:12, 14, 17).

Lord, thank you for the privilege of loving You by loving on those who are lonely and perhaps forgotten. I pray your Spirit and your love would lead out as we serve. Clothe us with your compassion, gentleness, and patience. Most of all, we pray You would be glorified in all we do. Amen.

Laura Macfarlan has a passion for studying and teaching God’s Word. Connect with her at CrossMyHeartMinistry.com.

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