This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. Please excuse any confusion due to this merge. I hope you enjoy the content!
Widows Are People, Too (Phase 1 of a Ministry Idea)
I realize that title seems a bit exaggerated, but I also think it’s something we often forget! How many of us can say we do well with the Biblical commands to care for widows? A few years ago, I found my eyes running too fast over the passages declaring the importance to care for widows and orphans. “Yeah, yeah,” I seemed to think. “Let’s get to the good stuff.”
Abruptly I felt Someone nudging me, “Hold on now. Read that again. Have patience with my Word and absorb it all, not just the popular parts…”
Do not merely listen to the word…do what it says. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress… James 1:22, 27
A new ministry idea was taking shape in my mind and it was exciting but, um, not for me…”Oh, but Lord, I already do things. I participate in other church activities. I’m even a board member! Surely you mean to put this ministry in another person’s thoughts.”
Those may not have been my literal thoughts but it portrays my initial attitude. I’m happy to share, though, that I was able to embrace this new idea quickly. I accepted the planted seed from God and brought it up to my husband.
Side note: My husband and I love to brainstorm about church and ministry. We’ve come up with some pretty radical and silly ideas that would never come to fruition, but it also has helped us over the years to see things with new eyes – to open ourselves to possibilities of serving that we surely wouldn’t have done or seen before.
A much longer story short, we came up with a plan for young women to minister to older widows. This was “Phase One,” if you will. “Phase Two” included the young men!
I contacted some of the girls I thought might be interested and it expanded from there. Eventually we had a large list of names and I invited all over to my house one morning to put our heads together. I was beyond thrilled that others were excited for this ministry idea, too. Once again, God was right, y’all!
Together we brainstormed and worked through each suggestion, eliminating ones that wouldn’t really work or that needed to move to a subsequent phase. Eventually we came up with our plan. Basically, each girl would be paired with a widow in consideration of a number of different factors – the widow’s needs or desires, the girl’s availability, the widow’s location, the girl’s age or maturity, etc. As you will see on the PDF below, we listed a number of different activity examples the pair could do together, made very clear guidelines and understanding for both halves and much more.
Here is a printable PDF of the initial proposal we submitted to the specific church board committee. I’ve changed names and locations to protect privacy.
I’m sure you don’t have to be as formal as this outlandishly organized accountant brain of mine and sharing ministry ideas with your church leaders can take on a number of different forms. This is just what we did this time. It was such a new concept that we wanted to make sure to capture the whole picture for those who would read it.
They loved it!
Further gatherings were held. The specific pastor in charge of this area worked on a list with us of all the older ladies the plan would reach and we got pretty far into the process.
Now I have to be honest about what happened next… God called us to move back to South America! My husband and I were to make that new transition soon and this ministry was unable to officially take off. It was very clear we were being led back down (this time to a different country but with the same organization), but I was of the utmost sadness to leave behind this group and also some other ministries I was a part of. It was confusing as to why He had us begin it, but then I received an email several months ago from the new evangelism pastor! She found my old proposal and was really excited about it. I gave her some information she was looking for and it looks like it might be taking place after all. You never know how things are going to play out, do you…
As you may have read in previous recent posts, my family and I just moved back to the USA. We’re figuring out a lot of things like where we’re going to live and preparing for Baby #2 arriving soon, but I also have precious widows on my mind, too. I need to always embrace the present and what we should be doing in the moment, but I am also looking forward to the day when I can love on a lady who needs love in this special way.
Can I challenge you to pray about this ministry idea today? It certainly can take its own shape as every church and every group of servants is unique, but I do hope this gives you an idea. Or even an inspiration for something totally different! Please let me know if you start something like this, if you’re already a part of something like this or any other ministry idea you want to share about. I love hearing about Christians living out their faith. It fills me up!