“We talk about living life on mission so we were trying to find something we could do,” said Debbi Hoeft. She and her husband Steve lead a LifeGroup at our Nocatee Campus. Many of their members regularly serve in ministries at the church but they wanted to find an opportunity for their whole group to regularly serve together. They wanted something that would be on-going because they knew that building relationships would take more than just a one-time event.
The group began looking at the needs in the community and realized there was a whole group of people they felt were being underserved… the seniors. The group knew a new senior adult community, Starling at Nocatee, was opening to residents for concierge living, assisted living, and memory care living.
One of the LifeGroup members, Sally Kirkpatrick, reached out to Starling and began talking with the activities director about how their group could plug in. The group suggested monthly socials, game nights, and even dances.
The activities director at Starling liked their ideas for monthly fun nights but said what they really needed was a worship service. Sally brought the idea back to the LifeGroup and Debbi says everyone’s response was basically the same… “A church service? We can’t do that!” There was a need, but they felt inadequate to meet it.
They continued to talk about it and pray about it as a group. They came to realize that “a social night would be safe, easy, and comfortable” but God was calling them to more. God was calling them to step out in faith and trust He would provide.
So, they began planning what the worship services would look like. Everyone in the LifeGroup agreed that they wanted the service to be interactive. They wanted to provide opportunities to connect and have meaningful conversations not just before or after the service, but during it as well. “Real hope and the reality of eternity with God” is something Debbi said they want to weave throughout every service.
The first chance they got to meet some of the residents and begin building those relationships was during our IMPACT JAX day of service in February. They spent the Saturday playing games, doing art projects, and getting to know the people they’d be spending time with each month. Their group had a great time serving together and were excited to start the worship services.
They held their first service in March and had been prepped to expect maybe one or two residents. Five were there. They sang hymns together and had a great time of interactive teaching and discussion. Eight people attended their April service! One man joined them because he heard his favorite hymn playing and then stayed for the rest of the service.
Debbi said “We are praying for God’s leading, direction, empowering, and equipping. Praying for how we can connect with them on a spiritual level.” They are excited about the opportunity they have been given to minister to believers at Starling but are also excited for the opportunity to share Christ with urgency to those who don’t know Him.
Hosting monthly worship services is not what the Hoeft LifeGroup had in mind when they began talking about finding a place to serve. But they are thankful God had something bigger than a game night in mind and are trusting Him to work as they live life on mission.