As a benevolent healthcare ministry of the Missouri Baptist Convention, the Baptist Homes campuses in Arcadia Valley, Ashland, Chillicothe and Ozark adhere to seven core values that distinguish these continuum of care senior communities from other healthcare providers in the industry. Common to each core value is our commitment to be a distinctively Christian ministry.
What does this mean for the residents, staff and churches we serve? First, it means that our leadership are born-again believers who are active in their faith as followers of Jesus Christ. Moreover, our senior leadership, administrators and campus pastors annually affirm The Baptist Faith & Message. Likewise, every trustee is a member of a cooperating Southern Baptist Church.
Being distinctively Christian means we seek to live out Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them.” Growing up, my parents and public-school teachers referred to this as “the Golden Rule.” Being distinctively Christian demands we treat one another with Christlike dignity, respect and truth.
Being distinctively Christian means we provide care for the body, soul and spirit. Each campus employees a campus pastor who is an active member of a Missouri Baptist congregation. Weekly Bible studies and chapel services are provided for residents. In a year where the coronavirus closed nursing homes to outside visitors, these weekly opportunities provided our residents an occasion to sing, pray with others and study God’s word despite the visitor restrictions. Campus pastors are also instrumental in keeping residents connected to family and their church.
Finally, being distinctively Christians means we exist for a higher purpose. Michael Hodson of the Marketplace Institute writes, “Is there any such thing as a distinctive Christian enterprise? I think there is… [through] practicing Christian believers who consciously set out to design their enterprise in a Christian way that is in accordance with their perception of the will of God. How might we compare the design of a Christian enterprise with one of another type? Chiefly vision and purpose.” In 1913, Dr. Milford Riggs laid the foundation for this ministry upon Psalm 71:9. Over a century later, the foundation of God’s word still resonates this higher purpose in our mission to “…joyfully serve in a Christlike manner by educating, advocating, and caring for the aging for the glory of God.”
It has been nearly 2000 years since the followers of Jesus Christ were “first called Christians” in the city of Antioch (Acts 11:26). Those early believers boldly spoke of Jesus and what he had done for them. Thy lived and worked together as a diverse community from many backgrounds bound by God’s grace, they genuinely loved one another and honored the lives of all people, including women, children, the poor and the aged. It is my prayer and desire that Missouri Baptists, and more specifically the leadership and staff of the Baptist Homes will faithfully demonstrate what it means to be Distinctively Christian.