If you’ve spent any time around the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) team, you will hear, “it’s a God thing.” It’s practically the unofficial slogan, and for good reason. God has shown over and over that He’s a step ahead positioning the ministry to respond to the needs of aging adults across the state.
Along those lines, “it’s a God thing” is the only way to describe the timing of the NCBAM’s new outreach “One Hope.” The outreach provides a spiritual response to social isolation and loneliness among older North Carolinians. And the Hope Line, which is a key component to “One Hope,” is a toll free warm-line for callers experiencing isolation and loneliness. In mid-march, the Hope Line calls exponentially increased as an impact of the coronavirus. When NCBAM began planning “One Hope” in 2018, no one could have imagined the events of 2020. But God knew.
Demand for the Hope Line continues to be great. The call center added two lines and temporarily expanded hours to include weekends. The Hope Line can be reached by calling 866-578-4673 daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Hope Line staff members and volunteers help comfort callers during these times of uncertainty. Trained to skillfully listen and respond, the Hope Line team seeks to affirm the callers. It is incredibly comforting for callers to simply share their fears and what is on the minds out loud to someone who doesn’t judge or dismiss their feelings. Callers who express fear or anxiety have a safe outlet where they are heard. They also have someone ready and willing to pray with and for them.
If the mission of “One Hope” interests you, please join NCBAM’s efforts as a volunteer. The callers would love to hear your voice as you lend a compassionate ear in a time of need. For more information, call 877-506-2226 or visit www.ncbam.org.
Article by Whitney Brooks, NCBAM "One Hope" Consultant. Brooks, developed and teaches the specialized training provided to NCBAM staff and Hope Line volunteers. Brooks is a member of First Baptist Church Lexington, a member of NCBAM’s Advisory Team, and an advisor to the ministry’s “One Hope” outreach.
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM DR. BLACKWELL:
My most recent podcast, “You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Aging” is streaming now and features Whitney Brooks. This podcast is so relevant now that we are practicing social distancing and self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Aging adults who had limited contact with others in their communities before COVID-19 are more alone than ever. Listen through your podcast provider online at www.bchblog.org/podcast. Be sure to share the link with your friends, fellow church members, and others in your community who may benefit from this very special podcast or those who may need the encouragement of Hope Line.