How do you train young moms to visit and care for elderly widows?

On a recent post, we considered that stay at home moms are a great asset to a pastor, particularly in the area of caring for elderly widows.  As a promised follow-up, here are 5 practical ways we train young moms in our church to take their children and visit elderly widows once a list has been created of those widows by the pastors:

Pray and contact.  A great place to start is to take that list of widows that the pastors have put together and set a goal to pray and write a hand-written card to each widow on that list in one month.  This allows a young mom who may be a bit apprehensive to go visit to make the first contact and allow God to stir affections for these widows through praying for them.

Organize a scheduled visit.  Take the list and begin to systematically work your way down the list, setting a goal to maybe visit 1 or 2 widows a week.  Once you complete the list it will be time to start the list over again.

Bake or make something to take as a gift.  Widows love to receive any gift that you might bring with you.  Whether you bake cookies, make something, or have your children color a picture, never underestimate the value of bringing something for this woman that she can look at, eat, or admire days after you have left.

Make a list of prayer requests.  At some point in the visit, pull out a pad and pen and ask, “What are some things you would like the pastors and the whole church body to be praying on your behalf?”  This is helpful to the pastors and a wonderful way to communicate a desire to care for her needs.

Write a brief report of the visit for the pastors.  After you leave, write a brief email to one of the pastors by the end of the week of how the visit went and the prayer requests you gathered from her.  This allows the pastors to pray more specifically for this widow and more accurately  inform the congregation of their needs.

FAQ.  Lastly, let me address 2 of the most common questions asked. “How long to stay and what to talk about.”  Anywhere from 15 – 45 minutes is a good template (barring comfort level, kids meltdown, etc.).  Topics like how she is feeling, family members caring for her, a typical day, history about her life, testimony of conversion, marriage and child rearing advice, and ways to pray for her are all great ways to carry a conversation.

Pastors, be training young moms in your congregation.  Young moms, realize you are capable of  having a very meaningful ministry in this area if you step out in faith believing God will give you the words and compassion to care for these ladies.

Posted in Caring for Widows
8 comments on “How do you train young moms to visit and care for elderly widows?
  1. Scott Wright says:

    Brian,
    for a great resource for current widows, pastors/elders, deacons and also for married women (non-widows), I whole-heartedly suggest a new book from Crossway called ‘The Undistracted Widow’ [www.wtsbooks.com] by Carol Cornish. I just finished it and I learned much as to ministering to widows. Blessings

    Scott

  2. Frederika Pronk says:

    Dear Brian,
    I am a retired pastor’s wife and for more than 40 years I have done a lot of visiting the elderly and lonely with or without my husband. I am now myself classified by some as elderly (although prefer “older”) because I chose not to dye my grey hair. Not too long ago my really elderly mother who was keenly interested in everything that went on in her church, society and her extended family, and the world outside, passed away at the age of 94. She had a nicely decorated room in a supportive care facility and she liked the attention of visitors, but she often felt that the younger visitors talked down to her and treated her as though she no longer was an intelligent human being. Today’s elderly are mostly well-educated, many have had careers, are usually busy as volunteer, serve on committees, boards, and keep up with politics and the news. Usually they have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who supply all the social life they can handle. There are still exceptions, but they are elderly who live alone or in nursing homes. If their minds are still bright, what they often crave is to be able to have a good adult conversation with knowledgeable adults about the things that still interest them. They love to talk to anyone who will listen. They love to see children but having children visit in their neatly kept rooms makes them nervous and they often have to clean up after them and don’t have access to the proper cleaning equipment. If anything is necessary today, it is to encourage the the stay-at-home moms who are looked down on by our society because they have too many children and don’t contribute to society. These stay-at-home moms usually get called on all the time in the church or their children’s schools. They are the ones who need help more than the healthy elderly. I could write more, but I think you get the point.

  3. Jenny Grusy says:

    Brian,
    I appreciated this post of yours and was wondering if you do have a separate, specific list of the widows at Auburndale? If you do, I was wondering if you could get me one of those? An area of service that I would like to do a better job of being intentional in is caring for the elderly people and widows at church. So, that list would be very helpful! Thanks Brian.

  4. Diana says:

    This week I took a poll in my Women’s Bible study class at church. There were 5 widows among the 18 class members present. Among the rest, only 2 – myself and one other woman were married to a Christian. 3 are married to unbelievers. The rest are divorced. Though I’ve known these dynamics – seeing it in numbers and percentages really caused me to stop and take note. How is the church ministering to these women? Do they fall under a special category? The needs are often very great! I’d love some feedback!

    In the meantime, I’m ordering ‘The Undestracted Widow.” Thanks for the reference!

    • Brian Croft says:

      Thank you for your question and your burden for these ladies. Whether widowed, married to an unbeliever, or divorced often times the needs are great and similiar. Here are 2 suggestions on where the focus is to be:

      1) Other women in the church who are burdened for these ladies need to take them case by case and try to meet the need.
      2) The pastors/elders of the church should take a special responsibility with any woman who does not have a husband to lead them. This needs to be done in “appropriate” ways, which may mean the appointing of certain other ladies in their life and the pastors proactively oversee their care.

      I know that is short, but I hope it will affirm that you were headed in a good direction.

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  1. [...] pastors.  It’s very helpful and a recent post gives some good tips for how we all can help minister to the widows and others in need in our church [...]

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