Sunday School Ministering to Homebound Adults

Saturday 31st March, 2007

Can Sunday School reach and care for all people? Statisticians say that 40% of our community (especially in cities) cannot attend Sunday School on Sunday morning. They are our doctors, nurses, fireman, policeman, etc. that we have come to depend upon. But Sunday School should not be limited to meeting at the church on Sunday morning. And Sunday School leaders should be concerned about and organized to meet the needs of people where they are.

But there is a group of church and Sunday School members that is frequently overlooked whose needs often go unmet. They are adults who are unable to attend church and Sunday School due to their own or a loved one's health or disability. Richard Dodge wrote two web articles about homebound adults that have information I want to share. In Lost in the Crowd:  Meeting the Needs of Homebound Adults, Richard shares the following five categories of homebound people. Check to see if you have any of these individuals on your church/Sunday School rolls or living in your community:

  • permanently living in institutional settings,
  • living in a convalescent center,
  • living at home with someone paid to care for them,
  • living in the home of their children, and
  • confined because they care for a homebound person.

In that same article, Richard says every "church can start a Homebound Ministry. Almost every church will have at least one person who needs a Homebound Ministry." This can be a great ministry sponsored by individuals as well as Sunday School classes. Richard offers these ten steps for starting a ministry to homebound individuals:

  1. Identify people whose physical conditions limit their ability to come to church and/or to sit through Bible study and worship(include people inside your church as well as prospects from your community).
  2. Determine whether anyone is providing Bible study to these persons.
  3. Obtain personal information from each person identified.
  4. Determine specific needs and the ability of each person to participate.
  5. Discuss this ministry need with key church leaders (Sunday School director, pastor, and so forth).
  6. Develop a list of prospective workers.
  7. Develop a timetable for starting this ministry, including training plans and budget needs.
  8. Enlist participants for this ministry.
  9. Match participants and those who will minister to the homebound adults.
  10. Provide ministry to address Bible study and other needs as appropriate.

This is a great list. I would suggest adding one more step. Enlist people to pray for those who are homebound by name. A person who is prayed for is not forgotten and is not likely to have ministry needs that go unmet. In another web article entitled Meet the Needs of Homebound Adults, Richard offers six beginning points for churches in ministering to homebound adults:

  • Provide Bible study each week for homebound adults,
  • Develop lines of communication,
  • Provide services to homebound adults,
  • Provide ministry opportunities as well,
  • Relieve caregivers, and
  • Provide tapes, books and other materials.

Don't allow "out of sight" adults to become "out of mind." Be intentional in ministering to homebound individuals. Don't be overwhelmed by all these ideas. S tart somewhe re. You can make a difference! Be revolutionary in doing so!

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