Reciprocal Blessings: Church Prioritizes Lending a Hand to a Beloved Generation
By Carl Stagner
They’ve labored hard and long. They’ve invested in each one of us. Setting the example and setting the bar high, they’ve left indelible marks on our lives. With wisdom, experience, poise, and grace, this beloved generation of senior adults no doubt still has so much to offer! But the blessings that they’ve already bestowed over a lifetime inspire reciprocal blessings among all who recognize the sacrifice of time and energy symbolized by the streaks of silver in their hair. Little Paint First Church of God in East Point, Kentucky, recently took steps to ensure the needs of the more mature saints among them could not be overlooked.
The all-new “Helping Seniors Ministry” was launched simply to come alongside senior members of the church in attending to various tasks and errands that might become more difficult with age. Sometimes you just need a helping hand and, as Barry Rice knows, people won’t always ask for help without an invitation. Barry, a lifelong attendee of Little Paint who heads up the ministry, isn’t content with letting basic needs go unmet, especially among the elderly—many of whom are widows.
“At the beginning of spring this year, as I was talking to these folks, I realized they had needs at their homes,” Barry recounts. “I wanted to help. I knew I couldn’t do it all, but we have several willing men in our congregation who I knew I could count on to go with me. Many of these men are skilled in areas like electrical, heating and cooling, and carpentry. Some of the men are just willing to help however they can. I mentioned in church one Sunday morning that I wanted to help anyone that had needs around their home. It could be to change a light bulb, repair a fence, or anything small like that. I asked if any men would want to help with this, and I got about ten volunteers!”
As word spread about the new ministry, it didn’t take long for the requests to pile up. Often the tasks requested included basic yard maintenance and broken appliances, and the Helping Seniors Ministry was humming along nicely.
“At first, we had just a few things but quickly the list grew,” Barry explains. “Me and the guys divided up the jobs and got them done. It was really busy in the spring, but now not as busy. Some of the jobs we have done include tearing down an unsafe porch for a widow, pulling weeds out of landscaping, fixing a ceiling fan that stopped working, pressure washing a house and porches, cleaning out gutters, restacking landscape rock, and removing trees from a property after a windstorm.”
Barry recognizes that some of the jobs he could simply accomplish himself, if necessary. The seniors receiving help certainly appreciate deeply the assistance regardless of the means. But Barry says that would prevent others from the blessing of caring for others.
“Every time the guys go and help someone,” Barry explains, “they tell me what a blessing it was to them. They get to spend time getting to know each other, spend time with the person they are helping and, most all the time, come away with receiving a blessing. That is where the joy is, in helping others.”
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.
Feature (top) photo: Little Paint First Church of God exterior.