A thriving Dwell ministry–Pacesetters–is growing even larger, extending its reach into more and more local senior living residences, thanks to a partnership with National Church Residences.
Pacesetters serves seniors, offering Bible studies and fellowship. Its goal is to have a great ministry to seniors through its Thursday morning Bible study, but also to take the love of God into the community.
Over the last year, Pacesetter volunteers have begun working as chaplains in a couple of local senior living communities, including Inniswood Village and Northland Gate. They’ve offered Bible studies, music, and friendship to residents. They’ve shared devotionals written by Dwell founding elder Gary DeLashmutt.
Now Dwell has the opportunity to expand this service in new facilities operated by National Church Residences (NCR), the nation’s largest nonprofit affordable senior housing provider. It has a growing number of facilities in Central Ohio and wants a chaplain program in each one.
Pacesetters Director Ben Foust says NCR has reached out to Dwell to provide these chaplains–volunteers who will offer weekly Bible studies and spiritual support. While these communities are home to people of all faiths, NCR chaplains provide Biblical ministry, including sharing the gospel. And for those who would like to attend a church outside the facility, volunteers are able to invite them to Dwell home churches, the Pacesetters’ Thursday meeting, or a Central Teaching.
Ben says NCR wants Dwell to oversee chaplain programs in at least two more facilities this year, including its new Bretton Woods facility on Cleveland Avenue. Here’s a story from NBC4 on the opening of that facility, where Ben was asked to give the opening prayer.
Ben says it’s an incredible opportunity. For Dwell, it’s a chance to serve the community, particularly a segment of the community that is often forgotten. It’s a service opportunity that allows people of all ages and abilities to make a contribution and glorify Christ. It’s also a time of life when many people are more open to the gospel, and we have even seen some residents begin regularly attending Pacesetters at Dwell.
One of the best things about the arrangement is that NCR is not only allowing Dwell volunteers to come in, but is welcoming them. Ben says many times it’s hard to start serving in a residence, with staff viewing religious groups with suspicion, but in this case NCR is openly asking Dwell to bring in volunteers to share the gospel and help meet its residents' spiritual needs.
Ben says there may be a future service opportunity to offer rides to seniors who want to attend a Dwell meeting. That set-up is not yet in place, but he’s confident it can be arranged for those in need.