Baptist and Reflector
The phone number is 844-600-8262 (844-600-TBMB).
The prayer hotline, which launches at 11 a.m. (CST) on Wednesday, April 15, is for anyone looking for prayer or conversation with an experienced chaplain, said Bill Choate, director of Baptist Collegiate Ministry for the TBMB. When there are specific needs, individuals may be referred to other resources, he added.
“These days are extraordinarily difficult for so many,” Choate observed. “The coronavirus crisis is affecting not only church members and communities but also church leaders, pastors and ministerial staff.”
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, agreed. “In this new environment we know there are people that are struggling with discouragement, fear and loneliness. It is our desire to provide the lifeline of a prayer partner. For any citizen of our state, and even beyond the borders of Tennessee, you’ve got someone willing to pray for you and with you 24/7,” Davis said.
Choate noted people are out of work and are concerned about their economic futures. Additionally, people are in their homes with their families and feeling unusual stress. He observed that single people can become isolated in their homes alone, wondering what tomorrow will bring and separated from the ones they love, and many senior adults are alone and fearful.
Others may be ill or be dealing with separation from someone suffering from COVID-19, he continued. “All of these people may just want someone to listen to their concerns and to pray for them. Tennessee Baptists care and want to provide that ministry to the community.”
Choate said Tennessee Baptists are blessed “to have trained, compassionate chaplains as part of our disaster relief organization. Typically, these caring workers are on the ground ministering to victims of tornados, floods, and hurricanes. Today our ‘disaster’ holds Tennesseans in our own homes, but it may be no less a crisis for some individuals. We are blessed to be able to share this resource with the community.”
Roger S. “Sing” Oldham, pastor engagement specialist for the TBMB, noted that the volunteer chaplains “provide a listening ear. They help people think through where they are and where they can turn for help. For many, social distancing has led to social isolation.
“For others, having the entire family at home 24/7 has exposed or escalated pre-existing tensions. Losing one’s job creates its own pressures and fears. We anticipate this ‘ministry of presence’ will be a means of lifting spirits and helping callers gain needed perspective in the face of uncertainty in their present circumstances.
“We all need the reminder that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,’” Oldham said. B&R