I’m sure you remember Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech. It was a pivotal moment in American history. Well, I too have a dream. It is a dream about ministry with older adults that I describe in my new book, Baby Boomers and Beyond:
It is a dream where older adults are motivated to give their lives away to people needing God’s grace. A dream where aging is not feared but rather welcomed as a God-ordained season of life.
It is a dream where adults are telling their life stories to the next generation—proclaiming God’s faithfulness and provision. A dream where older adults find purpose and meaning through a relationship with Jesus Christ. A dream where no one is marginalized because of age.
It is a dream where older adults continue to grow in intimacy with God. A dream where older adults are fully using all of their talents, gifts, and abilities to make a major Kingdom impact.
God began to stir this dream in me at a young age, and by the time I graduated from high school and entered Bible college, this spark to make a difference in the world of older adult ministry was being fanned into a flame. Even as a college student, I wrote papers, read books, and pursued internships in this emerging area. People thought I was crazy and couldn’t believe that a competent nineteen-year-old woman with a year of college under her belt would want to jump into the almost unheard-of arena of ministry with people over fifty. Shouldn’t I be using my ministry gifts serving youth? Or maybe I should look into women’s ministry or children’s ministry?
But God had a grip on me, and I had a burning passion to see the entire landscape of aging and older adult ministry change. Over the years, I have served as an older adult minister, pursued further education, taught classes, written articles, and done just about everything I could to speak this message. When I would become frustrated that no one was listening, voices would say, “The time isn’t right,” “The church isn’t ready yet,” “We’ll get there one day.”
Well, the day has finally come. The bulging numbers of adults marching into their fifth, sixth, and seventh decades of life is larger than it has ever been. Now is the time to make the dream come alive. Now is the time to unleash older adults to live out their God-given purpose. Now is the time to create effective ministries that reach out to adults over fifty. Now is the time to explore the possibilities.
Now is the time. (Excerpt from Baby Boomers and Beyond, 2010, by Amy Hanson)
What is your dream for older adult ministry and how are you going to make this dream a reality?