All families need support to provide responsive, nurturing care
This can be done through a network that encourages, cares and provides practical support. Home-visiting is designed to do exactly that; to equip churches to practically and effectively support expecting/new moms, dads and caregivers through the First Thousand Days season of their child’s life.
What is home-visiting?
Home-visiting seeks to deepen a caregiver’s ability to sensitively care for and connect with their child, encouraging them to play a more proactive role in their baby’s foundational moments of life. The role of the home visitor is to become a source of connection, love and true friendship to enable the mom/caregiver to do this. The home visitor is like a blanket – that wraps around mom, providing her with warmth, love, care, security – and in turn mom will be the blanket to her baby, providing love, care, warmth, security etc.
“I visited the mom today. She recovered well from the Caesar and the baby is all healthy with the 6 weeks checkup. I was holding the baby to release the mom to do one of her most important things. I felt so connected to her and to the baby. Vice versa, I can feel that she feels supported too. It was so amazing. It is really great to pray before visiting because God revealed at the very moment what’s the steps to take. We can plan so many things ahead but the very moment to follow His guide is so important to me. I love being in this ministry. Pray for each one of us to have meaningful relationships and community built.”
Common Ground Church, Wynberg
The home-visiting training equips church volunteers (home visitors) with the skills to foster authentic, trusting relationships with families, whilst walking a journey of support to be the village to the family in the FTD of life. Church volunteers undergo 5 nights of training on Monday evenings via Zoom. The home visitors are then to identify from within their church or surrounding community, the pregnant women, or families to walk alongside and support – with a focus on those families/moms who are disconnected from community and struggling.
Pastor, pray and discern if you are to start a Home-visiting ministry in your church; and who to identify as the women to be home visitors – or who you would like to head up and run this ministry in your church.
Pastor, if you have not yet committed your church to being a FTD-friendly church – commit your church HERE
Congregant, speak to your church leader to find out if your church is committed to being a FTD-friendly church and whether there are other members who are part of the First Thousand Day team.
Pastor, speak on a Sunday about the home-visiting ministry and why you would like this to be a ministry in your church. Give an invitation for women in your congregation to volunteer as home visitors – highlighting the qualities and characteristics of a home visitor. Meet with the women, get their details and pray about each one to select home visitors for training.
What is our home-visiting initiative?
Come find out more about how you can set up and run a home-visiting ministry in your church
Watch this space for future dates
Qualities of a home visitor
- Committed Christians and part of the life of your church
- Active members of the church and known by the leaders/elders/key ministry leaders of the church
This is a pastoral caring role for moms and families. The volunteer is therefore required to:
- Be a female but not necessarily a mother
- Be mature and responsible
- Be a positive role model
- Show good relationship skills like empathy, listening, warmth, and respect
- Speak with positive affirmation and encouragement to facilitate good constructive conversation
- Have good self-leadership skills/habits and problem-solving skills
- Have a heart of love towards others
- See this role as part of their ministry and opportunity to use their gifting to be part of the mission that God has called them to
- Be connected into community, i.e. have a good network of support around them, so that they are able to encourage caregivers to do the same
- Live and/or work in the community that they will work as a home-visiting volunteer
- Does not need to be an expert in FTD or health information but rather knows how to listen and not share mountains of advice
- Be able to set good boundaries, adhere to them, and able to seek support when there is a problem
- For more on the expectations of a home visitor read here
Register for the home-visiting training. If you can afford the cost of R250 for the training (which includes printing of the manual and couriering it to your door) please note if you are unable to pay as subsidized tickets are available. Block off the Monday evenings 7-9pm to be fully available for the training. And feed back along the way with your church leaders.
As I looked through the material, I was struck by the incredible gift that these questions are to the women we’ll be meeting with. My kids are nearly 6 now and I wish I’d had someone to ask me those kinds of questions when I was pregnant.
This is the proverbial older sister and helping hand all pregnant moms need. A journey to create, discover and join the supportive parenting village that every young family desperately needs to thrive in the difficult season of adjustment to family life.
I think this will be a wonderful ministry for new mothers.