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The Dream Team

A Great Way to Begin a Ministry with the New Old by Amy Hanson

You’ve seen the statistics.  You are aware of the opportunity.

  • 78 million baby boomers.
  • 10,000 turning 65 each day.
  • A huge group of adults with tremendous ministry potential.
  • You know your current senior adult ministry won’t reach them.
  • What do you do? How do you start?

One great way to begin to move a ministry with the new old from an idea to a reality is to form a Dream Team. Several churches have launched or expanded their boomer ministries this way and have seen some great results.

What is a Dream Team?

A dream team is a small group of adults in the boomer age range (I’d suggest adults age 55-70) who commit to meeting three to six times to brainstorm about ministry with the new old. For some church leaders, one goal of the dream team is that several of those who are a part of the group will develop a passion for reaching the new old and will become leaders that will spear-head the ministry.

In an effort to better understand the dream team concept, I interviewed some church leaders who have pioneered the dream team idea. From them, I gathered several key elements that will help you have a successful dream team.

Strategies for a Successful Dream Team

1. Choose high capacity people and extend a personal invitation. Dave McElheran, Encore Ministries pastor at Cedar Mills Bible Church in Portland, Oregon selects adults who are committed Christians and engaged as active members at the church. He also considers how well the adults will relate to the others on the team, because good discussion is essential to the success of the dream team. The group should be between eight to twelve participants. Any larger and it will be too hard to have a good interchange of ideas. Some churches invite all couples, while others choose a mixture of couples and singles. Make sure you have both males and females.

2. Assure the participants that the Dream Team is a short-term commitment. A common characteristic of baby boomers who are moving into the retirement season of life is that they do not want to be tied down. They desire flexibility and want to be able to leave town to visit a grandchild or participate in an activity of their choosing. You will be much more successful in forming your dream team, if you make it clear that the group is only going to meet for 4 weeks (or 6 or whatever number you choose).

3. Clearly communicate your reason for forming the Dream Team. Deni Starbuck, associate pastor at Christ the King Community Church in Bellingham, WA, said that her goal for the team was to simply gather people who would brainstorm with her as to what a ministry with boomers might look like, what activities would attract them and what it would take to make a group like this become a sustainable ministry.

4. Prepare for a meaningful discussion. After a person accepts the invitation to be a part of the dream team, Dave McElheran and his wife Bev, send a letter that explains when and where the group will meet. (Dave’s group met one evening a week, for 4 weeks, in their home. Then, he would select 8 more individuals for a new group. Deni, held her dream team on Sundays immediately following the last church service for 3 weeks and she provided lunch). In the letter that Dave and his wife send, they list 4 discussion questions, one question for each of the meetings. Then, at each gathering, one question is discussed and notes are written down to document the exchange of ideas.

Week 1: What would minister to you and your needs or what do you perceive are the needs of Encore people within our church?

Week 2: What Kingdom building ministry would you like to see developed for Encore?

Week 3: What type of ministry would you like to see developed for connection with in the Encore community in our body?

Week 4: What community activities would interest you for impacting our local area and what activities would allow us to provide the greatest amount of influence in the community?

As ministry ideas are suggested, the team is reminded that leaders will be needed to make these ministries a reality. Some of the team members catch a vision for the ministry and take on a long term leadership role while others move into other areas of church ministry after the 4 weeks. Regardless, the understanding of ministry with the new old has grown, ideas are shared and passions are ignited. If you want additional information about the dream team concept or if you have used something similar to the dream team in your church, please write to Amy at amy@amyhanson.org.

7 comments

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    August 22, 2011 12:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dottie Bryson

    This is a wonderful newsletter, with information that will be helpful to me and my team as we make plans for the “Baby Boomers” of our church and the community. We are wanting to start but we needed help and input becasue we want it to be successful and what would work for the “Baby Boomers.”
    Thanks so much for this newsletter. Dottie Bryson, minister to senior adults, Greer FBC

    Reply
  • August 24, 2011 5:08 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chuck Stecker

    Amy, As always “You Rock.” great blog and every church should follow you suggestion and establish a “Dream Team.”

    Reply
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    February 15, 2012 3:27 amPosted 2 years ago
    El Roy Pankow

    Amy,
    Thank you for helping get the Dream Team ball rolling. We know boomers are the sandwich generation, strapped on time and money. Your suggestions remind me of the KISS principle, to keep is simple. It’s all about relationships and that’s what I see you suggesting in small groups, in short periods of time commitment.

    Reply
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    February 15, 2012 3:28 amPosted 2 years ago
    El Roy Pankow

    Amy,
    Thank you for helping get the Dream Team ball rolling. We know boomers are the sandwich generation, strapped on time and money. Your suggestions remind me of the KISS principle, to keep is simple. It’s all about relationships and that’s what I see you suggesting in small groups, in short periods of time commitment.

    Reply
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    February 5, 2013 1:18 amPosted 1 year ago
    Charles McKinney

    We began a Dream Team for Boomers a year ago along the same lines as suggested. It has been a huge success and I agree with most it’s about creating relationships. We are at First Baptist Church Jacksonville nc.

    Reply
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    June 18, 2013 5:03 pmPosted 10 months ago
    Dave McElheran

    Thank you Amy for including me in your email.
    I responded to your email but maybe this is the better way.
    I have retired from Church Ministry, but not ministry. I am now a Pastor (Chaplain) in a retirement community and work with boomers as they struggle with their parents in the later years of their lives. Nothing seems to strike a nerve deeper than families trying to work through the care of their parents, and it brings them face to face with their own mortality, through this I am able to ask them how they want to finish their race.
    It is wonderful to see you pursuing ministry with and through boomers. They are a hard group to try to motivate but when they catch the vision there is no end to their passion and resolve to accomplish something meaningful with their lives. One of the best ways to get their attention is through the dream team concept, I’m glad to see you moving forward with your vision for this generation.
    If you are ever in the area, please stop in, I’d love to share more with you on how God is using us here.
    God Bless You…
    Pastor Dave McElheran

    Hearthstone at Murrayhill
    10880 SW Davies Road, Beaverton, OR 97008
    my work email: davemac@hearthstoneccc.com
    http://www.HearthstoneCommunities.com
    wk 503.521.3017
    cell 503.577.9042

    Reply
  • June 19, 2013 4:29 pmPosted 10 months ago
    Wendell Nelson

    Thanks for stimulating our thinking about aging boomers. May God help the church to the seize the moment to empower and release this gifted and resourced demographic for the glory of God.

    Reply

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