Starting a Side by Side program

When deciding how to embark on a ministry like this, there are many things to consider.  To begin, identify what the dementia care needs are in your congregation and community in order to assess the impact a Side by Side program could have.  With a clear idea of the needs, you can then consider whether your particular situation has the elements needed for a Side by Side program, and consider options for adapting to overcome any constraints.  Lets consider each of the following key components for providing a Side by Side fellowship and respite ministry:

Congregation and Community

Program Coordination


Meeting Space


Prayerful consideration of these components will help to clarify the needs in your community and the scope of the difference you can make!  A clear and thoughtful assessment of any constraints you are working with, and whether/how you can work around them will help you to decide how large of a program is needed in your community and what you are able to offer. 

A Tapestry of Care

While there are many considerations and a lot of details and moving parts to starting a Side by Side program, please be encouraged by the knowledge of the difference you will make.  Know that God is with you and, as we are reminded in Philippians 1:6, you can be confident “that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”  Week to week, prayers are answered and needs are met.  New participants are placed in our path and we have a chance to minister to their needs and to make a difference in their lives by sharing God’s love.  Care partners find renewed energy in the chance to take personal time or get things done, in connecting with others who understand, and in receiving pastoral care and support.  New volunteers come forward at just the right time and offer their gifts and talents.  Caring congregation members are moved to pray for us, bake something for morning coffee or tea time, or make a financial contribution to meet the needs of the program.  God is weaving a tapestry of care that connects all of us in His grace.  Come.  Be a part of it.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.

© 2020