As many of you know, our church is in a nursing home. That means our family has the complete responsibility of setting up for and having the church service every week. Without the help of our children, it would be a difficult task for just Steve and me.
When we arrive on Sunday morning, the children go to the rooms asking residents if they want to come to church, and then push the wheelchairs into the dining room where we have our service. One of the boys goes to the storage closet to get out our personal sound equipment that we use because so many of our congregation are hard of hearing. Then he sets up the sound equipment. The other boys move tables and rearrange chairs.
We have a tub containing our large-print, spiral bound, lightweight hymn books. One of the girls takes and distributes the hymn books to those who can still read. Christopher and Sarah take turns playing the piano. Every one fellowships with our elderly congregation before and after church.
Nathan and Melanie have undertaken the difficult task of maintaining the church services when we are on the road. My parents help them, and so do two of Melanieâ€™s sisters. Nathan is the song leader and preacher when we are away. Of course, Abigail is always a favorite with our congregation, whether we are there or on the road.
We are completing our seventh year of a nursing home church. Steve has always had the responsibility of pastoring the church including Sunday preaching, conducting funerals when requested, and counseling. For several years, Christopher has preached once a month. Plus he has taken the responsibility for many of the hospitalization visits and ministry â€“ which there is quite a bit of in our church. Christopher also goes weekly to pray with one of the men. Both Christopher and Steve are regularly asked by the staff to make other pastoral visits to a resident who isnâ€™t a regular church attendee.
More recently Joseph (20) and John (18) are beginning to preach one Sunday every other month. They are learning to seek the Lord for where He would have them preach, study for the message, prepare it, and then present it.
It is a fruitful season for Steve and me as we see the reality of our ministry multiplied, expanded, and enriched by our childrenâ€™s involvement. We want to encourage those of you with young children to be faithful to bringing your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord â€“ truly looking to Scripture rather than following what most others are doing. It may seem wearisome and lonely at times, but the fruitful season will come.
Trusting in Jesus,
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4
15 thoughts on “The Fruitful Season: Part 2”
Your church story is the most selfless, inspiring and God honoring story I have read. I am impressed with your faithfulness, care for details, work ethic and love for sharing Jesus. It is like the Beatitudes coming to life! I also am impressed with your sons preaching God’s word. You are the most productive family I have ever read about and with a smiles on your faces. There are parts you describe where it must be real chore (set up and tear down) but you seem to handle even that with grace. I commend you for you for your labor of love, exhortation and joy and the lasting fruit as a result.
i love reading about your ministry and church. what a blessing you are to those you are ministering to. i remember well when my father was in a nursing home and attending the sunday service, at the home, with him. how he loved singing to the old hymns (so did i) which they didn’t do so much in church anymore preferring the new praise music.
phil and i recently joined a group, from our church, going to a homeless camp nearby on sundays to hold worship services and a bring a meal for the families living there. it has been such a blessing to meet, minister to, talk, and offer table fellowship with the folks living there. the stories we have heard and the conversation is truely of god. it is a joy and a blessing for us to participate in.
thank you so much for sharing your ministry. you are all such a joy to me and it’s an honor to have become friends with you all. keeping you in our prayers.
Thank you so much for the encouragement to keep bringing up our children in the nurture & admonition of the Lord! You are right when you stated that it is truly looking to Scripture and NOT following what MOST others are doing. It is sometimes a lonely road, but a choice that we know will have eternal benefits.
Teri, thank you so much for sharing this glimpse into your church. What a blessing it must be for you and Steve to see the fruit from all these years of child rearing. And it does indeed spur me to “not grow weary in well doing”.
Bless you for ministering to the residents! As a nurse caring for these fraiol elderly, so many times they are lonely and forgotten. And a big bless you to the children, and especially the young ones, for giving the people personal, hand-holding attention. I used to bring my daughter to visit, and she loved holding hands and even climbing into a willing pair of arms that hadn’t held a child in years. Abigail will be blessed as all the Maxwell children are.
Thank you again, and many blessings,
Thank you for this encouragement. It can at times feel lonely when you are walking the path the Lord has called you to. I will continue on knowing that the fruitful season will be well worth the labor to get there.
I admire your faithfulness to the elderly there and to the Lord. I do have a question. Since this is a church body do you observe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper?
We haven’t baptized anyone, but we do celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
Thank you for letting us peek inside your lives. I have a question. Since you do church at a nursing home, do you all fellowship with other families that have children your own children’s ages in other settings? What I am wondering is this: do your kids (especially your older ones) have a way to meet potential spouses?
We have often thought about doing church the way you all are, but this issue is something I often wonder about.
Thanks for you ministry,
There aren’t like-minded families near us that we are aware of so the only time we have other family fellowship is occasionally while traveling. We love meeting like-minded families, but we wait on the Lord.
He is good.
In Christ Jesus,
What a wonderful ministry you all have! I feel sure that you are a ray of sunshine to those residents (the “holding hands” picture is precious). Thank you for sharing these pictures and telling about your Sunday services – – what an inspiration!
Blessings, Patti 🙂
Thank you for sharing glimpses of your life. They always encourage us to keep moving on the path that God has set us on, even if lonely sometimes. As the previous poster eluded to, finding like minded families with children is so hard these days, especailly when moving every two years, and I often worry that the children will never find close friends, much less potential spouses, at this rate.
I am so glad your children love each other! They seem like such good friends! We had been attending a church where there didn’t seem to be many, if any, standards. It was really difficult for our children to understand our guidelines. So we are now attending a little conservative church with other people who feel the same as we do! Keep up the good work and thanks for the encouragement!
Love always! Beth
Please blog more about how this all got started.
to be faithful to bringing your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord â€“ truly looking to Scripture rather than following what most others are doing. It may seem wearisome and lonely at times, but the fruitful season will come.
Thanks Teri, I *really* needed to hear that today.
I wept as I read this post. Truly we need the encouragement to look ahead when we are in high maintenance years. Thank you for giving us a vision of what can be accomplished if we don’t faint, if we seek the Lord’s will for our children, and follow Him closely. I needed this encouragement SO MUCH today. Please especially remember me in prayer.
Beautiful. What a beautiful ministry.. touched my heart and I wept… oh how I love the elderly.. I think it stems from all those years when grandma lived at home…. God bless your beautiful family!
In Christ alone,
Comments are closed.