senior adult ministry
From owning the latest piece of technology to reading the most recently released novel, American culture promotes a message that new is to be valued. Add to this the fast-paced life that many Americans live and what results is a society that does not have much time or desire to listen to the wisdom and experiences of its elders. That’s one reason why it is so important for churches to find ways to honor older adults and encourage them to tell their stories. Read more
What keeps people from serving? The apostle Paul knew of one thing that could keep Timothy from serving God to the fullest extent and that one thing was ageism. Ageism is the term used to describe the negative biases we have about certain age groups and this is exactly what Paul was addressing in I Timothy 4:12 when he says to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Ageism happens when someone is told they are ‘too young’ to do something and it also happens when someone is told they are ‘too old’. Read more
Sometimes I will hear from senior adult ministry leaders who want to know how to get the 55 or 60 year old to join their senior adult activities. Let me provide you with one example of how NOT to get them to participate. This was in a recent Sunday morning church bulletin listed on the page devoted to senior adult ministries:
At What Age Are You Considered a Senior Adult at “Your Church”?
1. If you are age 50 or over – you may consider yourself a senior.
2. If you have been contacted by AARP – you can consider yourself a senior.
3. If you are retired or semi-retired – then you are a senior.
4. If you take the senior discount – then you are a senior.
5. If you live in a senior adult retirement community – then you are a senior.
6. If you have grandkids – then you are a senior.
7. If you are receiving Social Security or other retirement benefits – then you are a senior.
8. If you have a membership at the senior center – then you are a senior.
9. If you are a snowbird – you are probably a senior.
10. If you have grey hair, white hair, partial hair or no hair – you are probably a senior.
11. If you have artificial joints or parts – you are probably a senior.
12. If you wear bi-focals or tri-focals – you are probably a senior.
13. If you have a handicapped parking permit – then you are probably a senior.
14. If you are downsizing – you are probably a senior.
15. If you see one of our activities and wish you could participate, come ahead – you are probably a senior anyway! C’mon and admit it!
I wish there was some gentle way I could tell this senior adult ministries pastor that this creative method for getting more people involved is not going to work. Like it or not we are never going to be able to convince the new old that they are seniors and therefore should join the current senior adult ministry. They just do not identify with that group and listing 15 reasons why they should come to the group, is not going to motivate them. Rather than spending all of our energy trying to find a way to get these boomers to be a part of the current senior ministry, why not start something new and fresh to reach this unique group?
What is one thing you have done to reach the new old?