The History of LifeLine

Written by Administrator
Saturday, 02 February 2008 13:15

In 1994, Jeff and Lisa Mattheiss were married, full of plans for their future and children. On September 11, 1999, God brought Emily Christene Mattheiss into theirfamily. She was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and more than a dozen other secondary diagnoses. Through each new diagnosis, through 14 surgeries, through everything, the Mattheiss family has been convinced that, like the blind man in John chapter 9 verse 3, Emily’s life has been created so that “the works of God should be made manifest in Him.”

God made their calling clear in September, 2002. After resigning from their other positions at Hamilton Baptist Church, we finally said “OK, God, we know now that we’re supposed to minister to families of those with special needs…how do we do that? Where do we start?” His answer seemed to be “What do they need?” So they listened…to family after family after family…They kept hearing the same thing…the need for respite care.

Caregivers were asking for a break! So, without an organization as such, or even a name, the Mattheiss family began a child care parent co-op with 4 families in April, 2003. Shortly, thereafter, an expanded version of that ministry began to take shape and on September 7th, 2003, the LifeLine Ministry of Hamilton Baptist Church was officially launched.

          The Mattheisses said "We called the ministry LifeLine because we wanted it to be exactly that…a LifeLine! Our goal was to meet the unique needs of families of those with special needs. When someone is drowning, a life preserver is extended. Our hope is to extend a similar lifeline to families struggling to be caregivers. The life preservers and lifelines in our logo come together to form a flower, a symbol of thriving life. LifeLine’s purpose is to help caregivers thrive, not just survive. It is also our hope to show forth Jesus, the only giver of eternal life."

Since their beginning, LifeLine has added several other programs to their ministry. ParentLink, the Survival Kit Project, Caregiver Education, Disability Ministry Training Programs, and Support Groups have all been added since 2003.

LifeLine was begun to support families who felt alone in their struggles. However, the ministry has grown far beyond those first four families. The activities provided by LifeLine are not limited to members of Hamilton Baptist Church or any church at all. Our assistance and services are open to anyone of any culture, race, or religion and our current enrollment of more than 500 families primarily comes from the community. As you can see, LifeLine families are busy! Jeff & Lisa do not accomplish this alone. One of the ways things are accomplished is through families who are served and turn around to serve others.

In January, 2007, LifeLine applied for and received their Tennessee Incorporation paperwork. They officially became LifeLine, Inc. on January 27, 2007. The ministry filed paperwork and received its non-profit 501c3 status in January 2009.   We moved the organization from Hamilton Baptist Church and opened our own office and training space in October, 2009.  God's hand has been present since the beginning in the provision of dedicated volunteers and financial and other resources. We are grateful for His guidance and covet your prayers as we look to the future in service to families affected by special needs.

 

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 February 2010 17:58 )