FBC Wilmer reaches out to widows of all ages through growing ministrycomment (1)
July 18, 2013
By Taylor Hamm
Members of First Baptist Church, Wilmer, have a distinct vision for a specific group of people in their church — the widows.
The “Widow’s Mite” ministry was started in 2012 at First, Wilmer, in Mobile Baptist Association and was named in relation to the story in Luke 21:1–4 of the widow’s humble obedience to the Lord, giving all she had.
Dinah Byrd, member of First, Wilmer, said several church members noticed a group of women who always sat together at church because they were alone.
“There were pews of women on Sundays, and we noticed they were all widows,” Byrd noted. “We then discovered that there were 41 widows at our church, ages ranging from 34 to 94.”
This revelation led to the idea for the ministry, and when the widows were approached about it, they added another layer — the ministry would not be solely centered on them being served but would provide an outlet for them to serve as well.
They wanted to honor Christ, just as the widow did in Luke.
Pastor Terry Glasscock said the “Widow’s Mite” ministry gives the church an opportunity to take care of the widows, like Christ asks the Church to do.
“We get to be with [the widows] on a regular basis, see what their needs are and take care of those who have a difficult time taking care of themselves,” he said. “The widows are godly women and have lived their lives for Christ, with so much to share, but many people aren’t aware of this.”
The women participating in the ministry have access to grief counselors and participate in routinely scheduled luncheons with guest speakers.
They also are encouraged to share household tasks that need to be done, so volunteers from the church can help.
The church also works to match each widow with a family to “adopt” her for a year.
During the adoption process, the widow prepares a written testimony and photo for the church. Families and other small groups notify the church if they are interested in adopting a widow.
From there, the matches are made. In some cases, a widow will be matched with a young couple with children to create a grandparent’s role to minister to and pray for the young family.
Because members of all ages work with the ministry, it has served to integrate the various age groups in the congregation, Byrd said.
“That’s the beauty I see and it’s the most exciting part,” she said. “It is the church learning to be the church together, regardless of your age and regardless of whether you can walk or what you can do.”
Want to help? Tips for ministry to widows
Can you change a light bulb? Can you mow a lawn? Can you give someone a listening ear?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then you are ready to minister to one of the unseen groups in your church: widows.
Deacons often are assigned several families if their church uses the Deacon Family Ministry Plan, a well-know process of assuring that all families in the church receive ministry, particularly in times of special need.
But widows may need a little extra ministry. Women whose husbands have passed away represent a growing percentage of many churches today and therefore represent a significant ministry need in every church. Here are some special ways to address the needs of widows:
- Assign not only a deacon and wife to each widow but also enlist a younger couple to develop a personal friendship and maintain social contact. Too often the greatest needs widows face are emotional in nature. They often face isolation and separation from friends. This is especially important the first year after losing a spouse. The widow should be contacted at least once a month by both couples.
- Suggest that cards be sent to each widow on special dates by a deacon other than the assigned deacon.
- Be sure that the widow is not alone on the evening of the anniversary of the death of her spouse.
- Remind teachers of widows’ Sunday School classes that the class should develop regular fellowship activities that help widows remain connected to the rest of the church family.
- Create a support network of widows who can help women facing or going through the grief of losing a spouse. Assist the widows in meeting weekly or monthly so they can talk about their feelings and needs.
- Create a committee of men who can handle minor needs around each widow’s home.
- If necessary, create a deacon fund that could be an emergency repair fund for widows who have unexpected major home repair expenses. This could be an anonymous kind of resource when needed to fix plumbing, roof damage or mowing the lawn.
- For widows who can no longer drive, create a transportation network involving others in the church who can help widows with transportation needs, such as doctor appointments or grocery shopping.
- Help widows find ways to use their skills and talents in ministry in and through the church. Give them a sense of purpose by helping them meet needs. (LifeWay Christian Resources)