Spiritual Care Series
By Elizabeth Faulkner
Leadership Development Team
Have you ever thought about how to provide spiritual care for the seniors in your family, your church or community? Are you looking for a way to provide purposeful ministry and leadership training for older adults in your church?
Before this year, I’d never thought much about Spiritual Care for elderly people especially since I’ve spent the past 15 years focused on ministry to children. But in the last year I had the privilege of working for Baptist Housing at a Senior’s Independent Living Residence called Shannon Oaks. I had the privilege of interacting with seniors and listening to the stories of their lives and their struggles as they adjusted to new realities. I interacted with people caring for their spouse with dementia, grappling with a reduced sense of independence, grieving the losses of loved ones, and facing moving out of their family home. I’ve also been there with my grandmother as she bravely faced dementia in her final years, my other grandmother as she slowly loses her ability to care for herself, and my grandparents who are fighting to stay healthy so they can stay in their own home. Furthermore, I continue to run into people caring for family members who are facing the challenges of aging.
What if our churches were equipped to provide spiritual care for our aging parents, grandparents, friends, neighbours and community? Not only would we be living out Jesus’ example of caring for the marginalized, but we would be creating opportunities to share the hope that Jesus has to offer as people approach the end of their lives. It’s interesting to note that in the last Canadian census, BC’s population of people over 65 (18.3%) exceeded the number of people under 15 (14.9%). This number is expected to grow, opening up a need in our communities that has never been so great. This is very present and a reality in our communities, but also an opportunity for us to expand God’s kingdom by caring well for people as they face the challenges of aging.
Through the support of Baptist Housing, we now have the opportunity to provide training for our churches called the Spiritual Care Series that equips people to face this challenge of providing purposeful and effective spiritual care for seniors. Here are some reasons why this might be something for your church to consider:
It is a thorough, well-researched and thoughtful approach to equipping people who care for seniors to understand topics like the aging journey, good communication, grief and dying.
It is easy to implement—all you really need is a facilitator interested in leading a group of people through the material.
It is an opportunity to invest in leadership training for older adults in your church who are looking to make a kingdom impact in your church or community.