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Grandview Church members offer prayer, support to CCU, ICU familiescomment (0)

December 18, 2008

By Jenifer Martin Siemens

Every Sunday around 4 p.m., members of Grandview Baptist Church, Dothan, enter the critical care unit (CCU) waiting room at a local hospital on a mission to offer hope, comfort and prayer.

The group, called the Grandview Baptist Care Team, was launched in 2006, soon after Mike Grimes came to the Columbia Baptist Association church as senior pastor. Grimes said the idea came to him after witnessing a husband and wife doing a similar ministry at a hospital in Russell County.

Trained team members from Grandview Baptist not only offer prayer but also chilled water and sodas from a cooler bearing the ministry’s logo, which resembles the pattern on a heart monitor. Neatly packaged snack bags contain crackers, mints, a Moon Pie and printed Scripture verses chosen to provide comfort and encouragement.

“We don’t force anything on anyone, and people are often skeptical at first, until they realize what we have to offer is free and just for them, because we care,” Grimes said.

The team has made such an impact on family members waiting in the CCU at Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) in Dothan that the church is considering expanding the ministry to provide refreshments for nurses on each of the hospital’s seven floors, he said.

Having started with 12 people, the care team has grown to 27 members. Another team now travels to the medical center with care team members to serve as apprentices in the ministry.

A support team at the church — whose average Sunday attendance is 275 — prepares the snack bags and coolers.

David Caraway, chairman of deacons, is a founding member of Grandview Baptist Care Team. He said response to the ministry has been overwhelming.

The church regularly receives e-mails, phone calls and thank-you cards, detailing how the care team touched recipients. One family even produced a video to thank the team.     

Another wrote, “My sister-in-law was recently in ICU at SAMC and members of your church delivered little snack bags to families in the waiting room.

“They were so courteous and kind and I thought, ‘What a great way to show the love of Christ … possibly touching someone in a way that will, at some point, lead him or her to Christ.’… Thank you for your dedication and concern in meeting the simple needs of hurting people.”

For Caraway, those sentiments embody the purpose of the care team. He believes the desire to meet practical needs should be a natural response for a Christian.

“We may never see the fruit of what we’re doing. We just have to be obedient to what the Lord has called us to do,” Caraway said, citing Matthew 25:35–37. “We just want to meet the needs that are out there.”

Grimes said the hospital outreach has not produced any new members for Grandview, noting that church growth is not the focus of this ministry. Because the medical center serves patients from Florida, Georgia and Alabama, the care team has the opportunity to reach people who live far from Dothan, Grimes added.

Steve Pearce, media relations coordinator for SAMC, said the care team’s contribution to the medical center’s mission is appreciated.

“It is our goal to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people we serve, and the care team makes a meaningful difference to the medical center’s guests.”

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