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Get Excited About Kin Ministry

Did You Know – Sharing Kin Ministry

You spoke and we listened. We are pretty proud and excited about the launch of our new Kin Ministry website. The new site defines the why and how of the Kin Ministry solution so you can easily share with others. Use the website to take your family, friends and others to statistics on loneliness or demonstrate how you confidentially communicate with your Kin Ministry leader. Curious about upcoming training opportunities or just want to learn more, we now have quick link tabs right on the Kin Ministry home-screen.


Our vision is to be the leader in ending isolation and loneliness by connecting communities, empowering individuals and delivering exceptional education and support. We do this through our three building blocks that comprise Kin Ministry.


Training to ignite connections within your congregation or community

Learn about upcoming training opportunities:

  • Events Tab links you to all the training opportunities, offered by Kin Ministry, to you, your congregation and your community.


Online platform to help you manage your growing caring community

Through the platform you can:

Get Notified
Record Confidentially
Personalized for Each Kin
Mark as Urgent


On-going support and training to help you engage others and grow.

Our support tab allows you to:

Contact Us
• View Kin Ministry printable resources
• Review previous Did You Know Series posts
• Link to weekly devotions and activity pages

Sticking Together in the Brokenness

Sticking Together in the Brokenness

“And yet, we all have this lovely embedded idea of putting on our Sunday best, which is entirely antithetical to the honesty of the brokenness that we all experience in our lives…. we are embedded so deeply with the goal to present our best self whatever that looks like. So it is hard, it is hard for me and for many people to share the brokenness of their lives, because we haven’t all done that very well, we haven’t trained ourselves to hear one another in our brokenness and to have the trust in one another to share and to have someone who will just stick with you in that brokenness.  We (BeFrienders) want to be about building the trust, to say yes we will stick with you.”

Christy Hallenbeck-Ask, Pastor at Spirit of Joy on BeFriender Ministry

Listening to Pastor Christy’s interview on SD Public Radio, we are reminded of the power in the training we received through BeFriender Ministry. We are reminded why our role as Kin Ministry volunteers and leaders is so important in the lives of others. Take some time to listen to Christy’s entire interview and reflect on the positive impact you have made on your Kin and your Kin on you. Be reminded why you signed up to be a Kin Ministry volunteer and what your training calls you to do.

Sharing Kin Ministry

Sharing Kin Ministry

People will support and volunteer for your Kin Ministry program for many reasons, but did you know it is their perception of your program that will attract them originally?  Don’t make the mistake of assuming your church and potential volunteers know what Kin Ministry is and how it serves those in your church.  It is important that people not only know you exist, but also that they associate value with your program.  We have created 5 easy ways for you to start sharing Kin Ministry.

1. Share the Kin Ministry video

2. Hang Kin Ministry posters around your church. We will print and mail you up to 6 or you can print them yourself.

3. Hand out information with the Kin Ministry bulletin insert. We will print and mail you up to 200 or you can print them yourself.

4. Use your website with a Kin Ministry Facts and Questions Page (FAQ). We have provided a template to get your started.

5. Recognize your volunteers.

Benefits of Volunteering

$24.69!  That is what a volunteer hour is said to be worth in 2018, but it is worth so much more than that and you may be surprised by who is benefiting from those volunteer hours. Volunteering makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of others. But did you know that volunteering actually benefits you too? From improving your health to providing an additional sense of purpose, volunteering offers many benefits to the volunteer. Below is just a sampling of the ways it benefits you.

The Benefits of Volunteering

Your Health:

According to a  Mayo Clinic report, volunteers indicate better physical health than do non-volunteers. Those over age 60 showed benefits to both their physical and mental health.

Build Your Resume:

Volunteering demonstrates an openness to teamwork, exhibits your commitment to the community as well as a willingness to help others.

Connects You:

Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.

Gain Confidence:

Volunteering can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem as well as your life satisfaction.  You feel a natural sense of accomplishment when you are doing good for others.

Live Longer:

Long-term volunteers have longer lives, less disease, and better overall health.  Data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging found that volunteers live longer than non-volunteers.

Graceful Aging:

Older people who volunteer often feel younger and may have fewer negative health symptoms and pain. Possibly because being active and engaged leads to more happiness.

Some of the other benefits of volunteering include:

  • Feeling needed
  • Setting an example for your children
  • Doing something outside of oneself
  • Making you happy
  • Providing an additional sense of purpose

Health Risks of Loneliness

There’s no easy way to say this.

Loneliness is serious. In fact, it’s so serious that it can lead to an early death.

Extensive research is uncovering more and more health risks.

It’s already well known that smoking, obesity and environmental factors can cause an early demise. Loneliness, however, is a relative newcomer to the field of potentially fatal conditions.

Health Risks of Loneliness

  • Loneliness a silent killer: Often high blood pressure or diabetes are referred to as “silent killers.” Loneliness and social isolation would also fit into that category.
    • In fact, high blood pressure was found by a University of Chicago study to be a major byproduct of loneliness and social isolation.
  • Living alone increases the risk of suicide: Isolation brings about stress, anxiety and depression. In some cases, even alcoholism. All of those are triggers for suicide.
  •  Lonely individuals report higher levels of stress: Even when they’re relaxing, lonely people say they feel the pressure of the world on them.
  • The social interaction that lonely people do have isn’t as positive as those of other people: The quality of the relationships that they do have don’t provide relief from the stress of being lonely and isolated.
  • Loneliness raises levels of stress hormones: This causes an imbalance in the circulatory system so that the heart has to work harder.
  • Loneliness hinders quality of sleep: Isolated individuals wake up more often during the night and spend more time in bed not sleeping.

While loneliness isn’t a chronic illness that will directly cause death, a lack of social connections can lead to serious health risks that result in death.


By Damien Garber
Good Samaritan Society

Your Kin and the Holidays

Volunteers Remembering Your Kin During the Holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner and soon you may be feeling the pressure of getting it all done.  So, how can you help your Kin enjoy this holiday season without a lot of extra time?


Plan Ahead

Take a few minutes to write out, address and stamp a Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years card now. All that is left is to drop them in the mail as each holiday approaches.


Involve Your Kids or Grandkids

Want to spend time with your kids or grandchildren, but also want to spend time with your Kin?  Do both by bringing your kids or grandchildren along to the Kin visit.


Send Flowers

A fresh bouquet of flowers can brighten anyone’s day. Arrange now for flowers to be delivered the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas.


Wrap Presents

At an upcoming visit, help your Kin wrap presents for their loved ones.  As they hand them out, they will remember the special time you spent together to prepare the gifts.


Call Your Kin

Busy schedules, bad weather and illness often keep us from visiting as often as we would like.  So pick up the phone and give your Kin a call.  A few minutes on the phone lets your Kin know that you were thinking of them.


Holiday Goodies

Does your Kin have a favorite holiday treat? Help your Kin participate, in the taste of the holidays, by preparing a plate of their favorites.  Make the treats ahead of time and throw them in the freezer, then they will be ready for delivery at a moment’s notice.


Christmas Letter or Cards

During an upcoming visit, help your Kin write and address their holiday cards.  Leave the cards so all the Kin needs to do is add the stamps and drop them in the mailbox.



Take a few moments to help your Kin decorate for the holidays. A few decorations, around their home or room, can help brighten their spirits and make them feel part of the festivities. After the holiday is over, don’t forget to help take down the decorations.



If your Kin loves Christmas carols, sing with them or find other ways for them to enjoy the sounds of the season. CDs, DVDs, web-based, streaming, and online music makes carols readily available for your Kin to enjoy.


Arrange a Visit

Does your Kin have a loved one that lives far away or someone they never get to see?  Arrange for them to receive a Facetime or Skype call from their loved one during one of your planned visits.


Celebrate the Reason for the Season

If your Kin is physically able, attend a religious service together.



If your Kin desires it, ensure they can receive communion during the holiday season.

Remembering Your Kin Through the Holidays

Remembering Your Kin During the Holidays

While the holidays should be a joyous time, for those who find themselves homebound and alone, it may unfortunately be one of the loneliest periods of the year. At the same time, the demands of the busy holiday season put a stress on your schedule.  So how can we show our Kin they are loved and valued through the holidays without a lot of extra work, time or money.  Below are just a few ideas.



During your next volunteer meeting bring a stack of Christmas cards. Have your volunteers write a personal message in a card and address the envelope. All that is left is to drop the cards in the mail.


Involve the Youth

Following a church service or during a Sunday School class, have your youth make Christmas ornaments. When finished, have the students or volunteers place them in an envelope and address it to one of your Kin. The packages are now ready for mailing or personal delivery with your volunteers.


Prayers Please

Put together a list of those from your congregation who would benefit from prayers.  Send the list to your Kin and ask them to help by praying for those on the list during the Holidays. Remember to use large print.


Help Us Decorate

Ask your Kin to create a tree decoration for your church Christmas tree.  Mail a picture of the decorated tree and a thank you card to each Kin that provided a decoration.


Church Festival

Does your church have a yearly festival that revolves around food? Include your Kin in the festival by delivering a plate of treats. This is a perfect opportunity for volunteers that like short term commitments,  ask them to deliver small plates of food to each of your Kin.



If your Kin can’t make it to church and it is desired by your Kin, arrange for someone to bring communion during the holiday season.

Risk Factors for Loneliness

“Loneliness is the sadness that comes from missing companionship, being disconnected from your familiarity or the feeling of lacking purpose,”

Dr. Judy Ryan, former President/CEO of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.


Risk Factors for Loneliness

It is possible to lessen the effects of loneliness in those around us, but it takes a community and a willingness to connect in meaningful ways.  Are you able to help your church leader identify those affected by social isolation and loneliness?  Do you know the factors that can lead to loneliness?

Living Alone

Everyone needs someone. Without some human interaction, it is impossible to feel connected. Living alone happens for a variety of reasons and can be managed to some extent. But the problem is compounded when adults are isolated geographically, children live far away or siblings and friends die.


Difficulty in Leaving the Home

Having no transportation or not being able to drive can easily lead to isolation. The double-edged sword is that lack of transportation can also affect an individual’s health treatment plan. Without a ride to the doctor’s office or to pick up prescriptions, seniors may suffer.


Major life transitions

Retiring from work, or being unable to volunteer because of a disability, can leave a huge hole in a social network. Moving into a new community can be isolating as well. It’s not always easy to make connections.


Low Income

With money comes the ability to live more comfortably, to be more mobile or to hire a caregiver. The lack of income can be a barrier to obtaining these things.


Being a Caregiver

Taking care of a new baby, a child with special needs or someone with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s or any other debilitating ailment, is lonely business. Living in someone else’s world can be all-consuming, leaving caregivers at a big risk for isolation.


Being in a Rural Area

Individuals who live in rural areas may be separated by great distances from companions. They also may have family members who have moved away and are no longer close enough to visit on a regular basis, leaving them vulnerable.


Small Network of Friends

As people grow older, the number of close friends they have often shrinks. In the case of rural areas, their church and community may be shrinking, too.

Guidelines for Prayer

Guidelines for Prayer

Are you uncertain when to pray with your Kin or even how to pray?  Did you know there are circumstances in which you should be wary of “using” prayer? Let’s look back at the guidelines Barb shared with us during training to get our answers.



When to Pray

  • It seems natural rather than forced.
  • It is requested.
  • There is a sensed need for prayer and the person is open to it.
  • It seems appropriate in the conversation.

Copyright © BeFriender Ministry—A Listening Presence, Bloomington, MN



Cautions to Prayer


Be wary of “using” prayer in the following circumstances:

  • Praying out of your need rather than out of the need of the person being visited.
  • Using prayer as a technique to help you end the visit or to avoid talking through concerns or feelings you are uncomfortable exploring.
  • Using prayer to manipulate the person into seeing or thinking about an issue from your point of view.
  • Using prayer to avoid silence and the discomfort that often accompanies silence.

Copyright © BeFriender Ministry—A Listening Presence, Bloomington, MN



How to Pray

Ask permission.

Build the prayer together. Ask “what would you like to pray for today?”

Invite them to offer a prayer. Ask if they have a favorite prayer or scripture passage.

Use ordinary, down-to-earth language.

Include all feelings that may have been shared.

Many forms are appropriate: spontaneous prayer, scripture, common prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer, reflective silence that is shared.

Pray for your relationship.

Link the person visited with the faith community. Share special prayers that your faith community is praying that week.

Copyright © BeFriender Ministry—A Listening Presence, Bloomington, MN

Inactivate a Volunteer

The Kin Ministry dashboard is a powerful tool, it provides:

  • Total Visibility allowing you to see, at a glance, an overall report of your outreach ministry
  • Time savings,  the information you need is at your fingertips
  • Reduced Stress, you can sleep easy knowing none of your Kin have been left behind
  • Increased Productivity. be where you are needed the most

Let us help you keep your dashboard organized with these quick reminders.

Inactivate a Volunteer

Quickly inactivate a volunteer who is taking some time away from the ministry. You can reactivate them at any time.