VENUES & Nursing Homes Should Be The Next Church Venue According to #WesleySem Student & Nursing Home Director

by Wesley Seminary student Christopher Herman, MMLO41 Building a Multi-Generational Ministry Course, 2/3/2015.

Dr. Whitesel, I have seen that a sub-congregation in seed form already resides in nearly every U.S. nursing home – all 16,100 of them (CDC, 2013).  Yes! Yes! Yes!  Most churches should use nursing homes as a venue.

Nursing homes are prime locations for planting sub-congregations, especially low-income skilled nursing facilities financed primarily through Medicaid.  These are going to be the most common type, to be certain, because of the anticipated tripling of the U.S. elderly population, and quadrupling of the population over age 90 we can expect over the next 25 years (He & Muenchrath, 2011).  They are good places for “good deeds” but “good deeds” through occasional, intermittent entry into the facility are simply not enough to build relationships.  One of the charges the Bishop made when I was ordained was to the priesthood was to gather the scattered sheep of Christ Jesus in the midst of this sinful world.  I have been compelled by the Holy Spirit to search for them at a nursing home.  We found out over the years that the deliberate presence of people in the lives of people living in nursing homes is of paramount importance (after prayer).

I can say with confidence that I am an expert in this particular type of ministry – and I have seen many churches come and go, flashes in the pan, providing worship services for a time, but eventually leaving.  I think the reason could be that the leaders do not fully understand that the most important aspect of nursing home ministry is faithful presence through the whole process of arrival, orientation to the new culture, learning there is hope for the future and that life has not ended, and being invited to be part of the lives of fellow residents and the local expression of the Body of Christ in the place.  A sacramental approach to life, including Holy Communion, is helpful.  Clergy who rely upon oration alone are often frustrated because about half of the residents have dementia and are therefore unable to comprehend phrases longer than five words, let alone a whole sermon.  I have seen pastors try to minister but leave because nobody complimented their sermons.  Nursing homes need a different ministry emphasis, but any church can do this (Shamy, 2003).

A culture has to be established – the local Christians must unite, cross denominational lines, and impact the lives of others through loving God, one another, and their neighbors in the small world in which they live.  This sort of ministry cannot be done well with merely having an occasional worship service.  Those are not bad, but they are not what is really needed.  It takes years to gain the trust of the management, the staff, and the residents.  Most American churches are not willing to sacrifice for several years because it is not in our instant access cultural mindset to be faithful for long periods of time to build relationships in the community.  The payoff is huge, though, if we are faithful for longer periods of time.  I can go into the facility and go anywhere I desire, any time I want without any sort of escort, and anybody I endorse in that place is immediately given the same privileges because the management knows I have gone through the effort of checking peoples’ backgrounds, and I have vetted them carefully before endorsing their presence.  This is because there is trust.  Trust is like the oxygen in a relationship.  Once a church has trust in a venue, that church is very effective.  I know that more than half of the people who come into the facility we serve will either rededicate his or her life to Christ after as many as 70 years of estrangement, or seek to be baptized.  I have seen it happen hundreds of times, even in a facility with an average total population of only 81.

The answer to your question is YES!!  (I apologize for yelling, but I cannot stress this enough).  Yes sub-congregations can be developed.  I have seen it.  We have done it…Well, God did it and let us help.  Every church should adopt at least one nursing home, making it a venue.  I would give anything, anything to help large churches adopt several!  A nursing home is a prime venue for the Church of the 21st century if we can but see reality.  I am not exaggerating – before the end of this Century there will be more than 400 Million people who live in nursing homes (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).  The Church is largely absent today.  Nursing homes want the support of churches and they will welcome us if we will but be faithful.

Yes, Dr. Whitesel, nursing homes should be a venue for most churches.

If anyone wants help doing this, we will give it.  We will support such endeavors with everything we have!  In all truth, my ministry exists to help the Church do this!

Thank you for your question, Dr. Whitesel.

Chris

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  (2013).  State of aging and health in America.  Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/features/agingandhealth/state_of_aging_and_health_in_america_2013.pdf

He, W., & Muenchrath, M. N. (November 2011).  90+ in the United States:  2006-2008 American community survey reports.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shamy, E. (2003).  A guide to the spiritual dimension of care for people with Alzheimer ’s disease and related dementia: More than body, brain and breath.  Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Vincent, G., & Velkoff, V.  (May, 2010).  The next four decades: The older population in the United States: 2010 to 2050.  U.S. Census Bureau, Administration on Aging.  Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/(S(2ch3qw55k1qylo45dbihar2u))/Aging_Statistics/future_growth/DOCS/p25-1138.pdf

ART & An Example of How to Do Outreach & Discipleship With Emerging Artists

by Pastor Paul Tillman, Lead Pastor, Oakdale Wesleyan Church, 12/1/14

In partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University, Oakdale Wesleyan Church has sponsored an art contest. Student artists prepared works depicting Philip the Evangelist and the Ethiopian Official from Acts 8:26-40. Artwork entries hang at the Beard Arts Center at IWU from December 1, 2014 to January 9, 2015, and, in addition to the artist receiving a cash or scholarship prize from the memorial gifts of Don and Trudy Emory, the winning piece will be brought to to hang permanently at Oakdale Wesleyan Church as a reminder and symbol of our mission, given to us by Jesus, to make disciples from all peoples by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The contest guidelines were: “Students should create 2D work on canvas or board that is no smaller than 24″ x 36″ and no larger than 36″ x 46″. Work can be orientated in either portrait or landscape. The style of the work may be: classical/traditional, realistic, or impressionistic, based upon any part of all of the story of Philip and the Ethiopian from Acts 8:26-40. The winning entry will be a symbol for the call to multi-ethnic ministry, making disciples and missions.” We are now pleased to show the entries and announce the winner.

The Installation Ceremony of the winning pieces will be on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at Oakdale Wesleyan Church. The following day, Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 10 am, we will hold a Celebration Service. Greater details on the installation and celebration will be forthcoming. Both events are open to the public.

First Place – ICHTHUS by Nate Hillyer

ICHTHUS by Nate Hillyer

ICHTHUS by Nate Hillyer http://www.natehillyer.com/

In addition to his wonderful style, the artist brought in great symbolism to the piece: light and darkness, the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit, reconciliation, and the making of disciples, all from the perspective of God Above. This piece captured all the contest elements, and will hang in the lobby of Oakdale Wesleyan Church. Nate Hillyer received $300 for his winning entry.

Honorable Mention – Immersion by Gayle Cobb

Immersion by Gayle Cobb

Immersion by Gayle Cobb http://www.gcillustration.com/

With its bold colors and zoomed in perspective, this piece forces the viewer to engage and figure it out. The artist chose only show the hands of Philip (a choice that really works for the piece), making is so those hands could be anyone’s hands, or even the hands of God. This piece will have a place of honor, and will be featured during baptisms. Gayle Cobb received $100 for her entry…

Read more at … http://oakdalechurch.org/art-content-winner/

EVALUATION & A case study on how one church planter gets valuable feedback from church & community

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This case study comes from an African-American pastor of a growing church, who also happens to be a Wesley seminary student. He shares how he gets feedback from newcomers, congregants and people in the community.”

When I started Peace Baptist 21 years ago I went to every John Maxwell conference that was in our area. One of the most impactful statements he made was to teach the pastors to “Walk slowly through the crowd” (personal communication). He encouraged us to take a weekly evaluation from the members after each service and not rush back to the office or to a holding room. I have adopted this philosophy throughout my ministry. After each service I stand off the stage and spend usually 20-30 minutes just listening and asking questions. It is my most valuable tool for understanding the pulse of the church. I gain insight on what is happening in the church and community each week. Often, I develop sermon ideas once I see that many people are dealing with similar issues. It keeps me current and connected. I discovered that as the church grew it was hard to get accurate information second or third hand. I needed first hand information. I have benefited from what Whitesel suggest in “Growth by accident death by planning.” He admonishes leaders to have casual conversation in the corridors (Whitesel, 2004, p. 102). I do this by doing drop ins on classes, meetings, outreach activities, and occasionally I take members out to lunch or invite them to our home just to talk. Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willowcreek church, encourages pastors to develop a mole system. He writes, “Through the years I’ve worked hard to find trusted individuals who love God, love the church, love me, and are courageous enough to tell me the truth even when it’s tough to hear” (Hybels, 2008, p. 145). – Rev. Tyrone Barnette, Senior Pastor of Peace Baptist Church, TX (used by permission).

PRAYER & Things That Hinder Our Prayers from Being Answered

by Jay Morgan, lead pastor of New Life Church, West Virginia, Wesley Seminary Course CONG520, May 2014.

It seems that sometimes God waits to see how serious you are about a request before He intervenes. If God said YES to everything that you asked for, in no time you would be praying to counteract the requests you previously made!

In his book, Too Busy Not To Pray, Bill Hybels refers to “Prayer Busters,” i.e. things that hinder our prayers from being answered (InterVarsity Press: 1988). Following are some adaptaions I have made.

Many times, you might incorrectly assume that God isn’t intervening because it is not His will. However, Scripture teaches that God can actually desire something for you but the condition of your heart can block it!

Following are verses that explain how the condition of your heart can limit God’s intervention in your life.

Wrong Motives: When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives. But you spend what you get on your own pleasures. James 4:3

Unconfessed Sin: There is a problem, your sins have cut you off from God, because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. Isaiah 59:2

Insensitivity to the needs of the poor. those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. Proverbs 21:13

Lack of Faith. When you ask, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as the waves of the sea, that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They can’t make up their minds, they waiver back and forth in everything they do. James 1:6-8