Adopt a Shut-In | The Practical Disciple

Adopt a Shut-In

Ash Wednesday is just two weeks away now. Tonight, our church launched a new discipline for people to adopt during Lent that I am very excited about.  We have 17 members who are homebound or in nursing homes.  Our Evangelism Committee asked people to consider adopting one or more of these members during the six weeks of Lent.  We have a very distinct mission for our adopters.

At the beginning of Lent we are giving each family in the church a decorative handmade wooden table cross that is about 12 inches tall with a devotional guide.  Each week during Lent we will give out a symbol to add to the cross.  The symbols are relate to Jesus last hours and crucifixion. There is a devotional thought for the week associated with each symbol explained in the devotional guide.  We want to include our homebound members in this congregational activity.  So some people are adopting a shut-in and bringing him or her a cross and then returning each week with the next symbol.  We hope that the symbol will be a tangible reminder throughout the week of God’s love for them and our love for them as part of our church family.

Even if your church isn’t doing anything like a cross project it doesn’t mean that you couldn’t adopt an elder in need of some companionship.  Lent runs from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17th until Easter Sunday, April 4th.  During those six weeks imagine the joy that a visit would bring someone.  You may enjoy it so much that it continues far beyond those six weeks.  Or perhaps, you could just decide to visit a different person each week.  You could be the grace of Jesus Christ to them.  You could be the love of Jesus Christ to them.  It’s something to consider.

If you want to know how we set it up at our church it was quite simple.  I printed out a half sheet that explained the project and at the bottom it said, “Yes, I will adopt….___________________”.  We put the name of a different shut-in on the blank line of each sheet.  We grouped some together that stayed in the same nursing facility that we thought people may want to adopt together.  People just picked up the sheet of the person they wanted to adopt.  We recorded the names of the adopters next to their adoptees on a list we had of our shut-ins.   We did that to make sure that we didn’t miss anyone and also if we have to recruit a few adopters I didn’t want to be needlessly asking a bunch of people who already had someone.  I think we only have few left but we have two weeks to find someone willing to adopt them.

I placed a two copies of our handout on the Lent Page.  If you would like to see or adapt one just click here.  I saved it both as a PDF file and as a Word Document.  The PDF is to make sure that anyone could access it.  The Word format is for anyone who would like to adapt it.

I have a couple more ideas for Lent that I am working on posting before the weekend.  I would love to hear from other people about things they give up during Lent or spiritual disciplines that they take on.  Even if you are from a church or denomination that does not observe Lent I would encourage you to look at the disciplines on the Lent Page because they are all spiritual exercises that benefit someone at anytime.

Blessings to You

About This Author

1 Comment

You can post comments in this post.


  • John,
    Another great idea. Our Individual deacons each have a special friend. Someone that can no longer attend church. They contact their special friend each month–either by sending a card, a phone call or a personal visit. This idea would encourage personal visits. In advent taking a basket of fruit with you and leaving some fruit with the SF at each visit is something I have used in the past.

    Carolyn Newcomb 8 years ago


Post A Reply