The purposes of Vital Signs' "Mercy Ministries" has been to provide inspiration, encouragement and ongoing friendship to residents of nursing care facilities and others who can't easily get around to other social functions. This is a ministry that is intimately linked to the comprehensive sanctity of life ethic to which all Christians should be devoted. And guess what? It's an easy task to perform! There are no special skills needed, no arduous training, no expensive preparations - all that's necessary is a willing and available heart!
The "Mercy Ministries" of Vital Signs have been as varied as the interests of those involved. At its most basic, people simply befriend individual nursing home residents, shut-ins, or others in need of fellowship. It might involve conversation, reading the Scriptures or a newspaper, bringing a kitten to be petted, praying together, or taking in kids who have made a special birthday treat. There are also team activities: group singing, escorting residents to the zoo or store, making crafts, playing games, talent shows, leading worship services, and more.
To initiate ministries in the nursing home near you, we strongly suggest you talk to the facility's manager or activities director. They have the information as well as the authority you'll need to pursue this outreach. Be prepared to offer some specific ideas. And please be ready to give the residents your loyal friendship. Just showing up at Christmas time is not enough - God desires His people to visit the widows, comfort the sick, and encourage the lonely all year round!
Denny & Claire Hartford have created a new "Mercy Ministries" outreach called "When Swing Was King." It was a one-time event to entertain Denny’s Mom and some of her friends at a nursing home where she was then living. But even before they were finished putting together that first program, they had a feeling they were onto something special. Still, they had no idea just how expansive the program would become. For now the Hartfords have created 24 different volumes of "When Swing Was King" and they present the program (completely free of charge) to 12 senior centers every month!
"Mercy Ministries" can be a very powerful outreach. It changes your heart; teaches patience and understanding to your kids; and helps meet the very serious spiritual needs of others. So get after it! Add a "Mercy Ministries" component to your pro-life worldview today.