By Gail Morgan
Special to The Alabama Baptist
Sadly, we’ve become ‘that family.’ Never would I have thought throughout years of ministering to ‘shut-ins’ we would ever align with this category. It is not a group one would willingly choose but one that God has chosen for us for such a time as this.
One of the many things I am learning through our unsolicited experience is there is a purpose in God’s plan, inside and outside of the church building. We are all part of the same body, regardless of where we reside.
Our amazing body of believers, First Baptist Church Luverne, is steadfast in reaching out through calls, texts, visits, cards, worship service bulletins, prayer lists and happy day gifts — all of which help us feel loved and less isolated.
While nothing replaces human connection, the availability of online worship is a blessing when there are obstacles to prevent joining in person. Our church also provides The Alabama Baptist, which is a constant reminder we are part of a larger purpose.
These thoughts are being shared with the utmost grace for myself and others. I am certainly not an authority and fall extremely short of God’s calling.
But when I think of what the church can do for homebound, my thoughts immediately turn to the phrase from John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” but on a spiritual and homebound level.
From my limited understanding of Scripture, our Christian pilgrimage is not about what the church can do for me, but what can I do to actively participate in the ministry of my church and walk out my faith in my current situation. The Christian life is more about serving rather than being served, regardless of where we are in life.
While being confined to home presents challenges and can be excruciatingly lonely, as we are able, homebound Christians shoulder a sense of responsibility. We do not check our “call to service” at the church door.
I am incredibly grateful our church has open hearts and minds to allow others to serve and be an extension of the body from the location God, in His divine sovereignty, has currently placed them. Sadly, there are those who think if you are not in church every time the door is open, you are not worthy to serve.
A phrase read recently said, “Interruptions are God’s way of redirecting our lives.” God isn’t surprised we are in this season of life. Our role is to walk out His plan, with the immeasurable grace He has granted, and seize the chance to turn our challenges into opportunities.
As Proverbs 16:9 says, “We make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps.”
Although isolation may loom, there are countless opportunities for the homebound to be an extension of Christ.
- Pray daily for the church and its many ministries.
- Support monetarily with tithes and offerings.
- Send cards of encouragement to those inside and outside the fellowship. Coordinate with church leaders as necessary.
- Send encouraging texts to staff and members.
- Participate in missions projects by donating resources. Aren’t we thankful for Amazon and other online shopping options?
- Send cards to Baptist Men/Women members on behalf of the group, with the leadership’s approval. Who doesn’t like to get a personal letter in their mailbox?
- Use leadership skills as “behind the scenes” support. My pastor asked me to continue serving as Drop Off Leader for Crenshaw County’s Operation Christmas Child and recruited another person to be the hands and feet of this position. Due to our home situation, I am unable to commit to be on-site, but with available technology there are many ways to use my gifts, contribute behind the scenes and have a small part in sharing the gospel through this ministry.
Thank you for breaching the homebound subject. 1 Samuel 12:24 says, “Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.”
There is no start and stop time for serving for any believer. Anything done in the name of Jesus will be used to bring Him glory.
May we all be found faithful in whatever place God has chosen for us in life.