Best Practices: Spotlight on Johnson Ferry Baptist (Part 2)
This post is part 2 of an interview I did with Eden Hutchins, Children’s Ministry Associate for Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (Marietta, GA). Hutchins serves as coordinator of the “Green Light” Ministry, designed to include children with special needs inside JFBC’s children’s programming.
See “Best Practices: Spotlight on Johnson Ferry Baptist (Part 1)” for the introduction and first part of the interiew with Hutchins.
AFL: Tell me a little more about how you involve nurses in your program?
EH: We have a handful of registered nurses who are members of the church. They volunteer to serve as the “on call” nurse to our ministry on a rotating basis. So when it is one nurse’s turn to serve on a certain Sunday, they arrive at church and pass by the children’s ministry area to pick up a walkie-talkie. They then go to their own Sunday School class or worship, remaining on campus through the duration of that day’s programming. If we need them, we page that nurse and they can be in our area within a minute or two to handle whatever issue may have come up.
AFL: I noticed that you had questions on the intake form related to medications. Does your program administer medications?
EH: Because the time in regular programming is so short, generally speaking we do not administer medications during Sunday morning activities. These questions are asked on the form because we do have the need occasionally during respite nights. Either way, only an approved registered nurse who serves through our program can administer any medications. If we had the need for medication on a Sunday morning, we would arrange for that with the on-call nurse.
AFL: How do you recruit volunteers to serve in the Green Light Ministry?
EH: Our Refuel Respite night has been a great tool for recruiting volunteers and generating broader congregation buy-in for our special needs ministry. We generally ask various adult Sunday school classes to take on one respite night as their class project for a month. We do not require that these Sunday school class volunteers receive training. We just ask them to commit to show up and help for that one month’s respite night. Volunteers will come because their friends from their Sunday school class are coming too. But invariably one person or one couple who served during a respite event will come back to our ministry team and tell us they feel called to serve in our ministry. We have found nearly all of our Sunday morning volunteers by doing respite nights.
We do have veteran and prepared volunteers who help with every respite event. We also have registered nurses on site for those nights. It isn’t crucial that all the first time volunteers from the adult Sunday school classes have training. We make sure the experienced volunteers or nurses are known by all the newbie volunteers so that they can be pulled in to handle any challenging situations or medical emergencies.
For volunteer recruitment, we also provide and publicize various ways for church members to serve in our ministry. We provide an online volunteer questionnaire where prospective volunteers can see the many ways they can assist the special needs ministry: http://www.johnsonferry.org/Ministries/Children/SpecialNeedsGreenLight/SpecialNeedsVolunteer/tabid/565/Default.aspx
AFL: How many children and families does the Green Light Ministry Serve?
EH: Currently we can expect to receive around 5 children on any given Sunday morning. Our respite nights are designed to accommodate 20 families. Once we reach 20 families on the monthly sign up, we have a waiting list. It is unexplainable, but so far we have always had just enough schedule changes and situations work out so that waiting list families have always been able to participate.
Check out Johnson Ferry Baptist Church’s Green Light Ministry on the web!
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– Amy Fenton Lee