“I don’t know about where you live, but around here churches don’t go to nursing homes any more,” I said to a couple of church people at a meeting.
I was greeted with blank stares. The subject was quickly changed to the latest church planting model.
Nursing home ministry isn’t trendy. A friend of my calls them ‘Hotel California’. You check in but you can never leave. It’s a place you go to get your heart broken.
Often times they’re shrouded in guilt. I sat with an elderly woman who was unconsolable. One day her daughter picked her up, telling her they were going shopping. Instead her daughter took her to the nursing home and left.
Through her tears she kept asking what she did wrong that her daughter would abandon her that way. I had no answer.
I sat with the woman and held her hand. I prayed with her, asking God to give her comfort and peace. There was nothing else I could do.
Ministry in the Undiscovered Country is costly. It costs time and effort. It breaks your heart and leaves you with more questions than answers.
And it never ends.
My church hasn’t grown in size through our ministry to nursing homes, but that’s not the point of ministry. Ministry is about giving, not building. We serve. God builds.
Ministry in the Undiscovered Country means giving with no expectation of receiving anything in return.