One of the most helpful assets to a pastor in the local church in regard to caring for elderly widows is a stay-at-home mom. Here are five practical ways a pastor can train young moms in his church to take their children and visit elderly widows. First, the church should create a list of widows and make that list available, then:
1. 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.
2. Organize a scheduled visit
Take the list and begin systematically to work your way down the list, setting a goal to maybe visit one or two widows a week. Once you complete the list it will be time to start the list over again.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Frequently asked questions
Let me address two of the most common questions asked. “How long should we stay and what should we 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 are capable of having a very meaningful ministry in this area if you encourage them to step out in faith believing God will give the words and compassion needed to care for these ladies.
Brian Croft serves as senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville. He is also senior fellow for the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at Southern Seminary. A veteran pastor and author of numerous books on practical aspects of pastoral ministry, Brian oversees Practical Shepherding, a gospel-driven resource center for pastors and church leaders to equip them in the practical matters of pastoral ministry.