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Focusing on What Matters

It’s no shock that the culture tries to lure us into believing that the last 30 years of life are about focusing on ourselves. However, the Bible speaks in contrast to this mindset and reminds us that we are to have an eternal focus. Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3:2 is that we are to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. Popular author and speaker, Frances Chan illustrates this as he explains our life and eternity like a rope. As we consider our own lives and as we minister with people in the second-half, I hope this short teaching will cause us to re-think how to approach the retirement years.


Corrie ten Boom and 50+ Ministry

Recently I finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. My hunch is that many of you know the story of this Dutch woman who along with her family hid Jews in their home during the Nazi regime. Eventually, she, along with others in her family were arrested and put in prison and later she and her sister were moved to one of Hitler’s concentration camps.

While I gained much from the book, two things stick out that are especially applicable to those of us who care about ministry with boomers and beyond.

First, Corrie was in her 50s when she took on the ministry of hiding Jews and working with the underground against Hitler. She was in her 50s when she was suffering in a concentration camp under horrendous conditions. She was in her 50s when she began speaking to groups about her experiences. She was in her 50s when she established a rehabilitation center for those who had suffered in the war and helped bring them to wholeness. And then she continued on for several decades to travel the world, speaking and writing about the love of Christ and the power of forgiveness. In no way was her life on the downward slide once she hit the age of 50. To the contrary, it may be argued that some of her most powerful ministry occurred in the second half of her life.

Second, Corrie’s story reminds us that there is much to be gleaned from hearing the faith stories of those who have gone before us. As I read, she taught me about suffering and caused me to consider how I might apply her Christ-like attitude towards suffering to the difficult circumstances in my own life. I thought about how to grow in loving the Bible and valuing the words written in it as much as she and her sister, Betsie, did. I pondered how I might pay attention and look and see where God’s hand is showing up in my daily life, just as He showed up for them. The reality is the story has lingered with me even though I’ve finished reading it and it is helping to refine my faith. How many stories reside among those 50+ in your church, in your family, in your neighborhood, or in YOU? Not all the stories are happy and easy to hear but when told they can encourage and challenge others in their faith. If we don’t share those stories – if we don’t give people the forum to tell those stories – then something valuable is lost.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain it to you.” Deuteronomy 32:7

What do you do to ensure that faith stories are shared with others?


Consider This....

I try to keep a pulse on what is being written about baby boomers and older adults. Here are two that have recently caught my eye.

This article in the New York Times gives more proof as to why churches cannot ignore ministry with the new old.

I’ve said for some time that church planters need to pay attention to the growing boomer demographic. And while I wish this author would not have referred to older adults as geezers, (Smile), I am SO glad a veteran church planter is talking about this!

How should the church respond to the information presented? Any thoughts?


An Overlooked but Important Ministry

Back in 2006 I led a workshop at a ministry conference on the Top 5 Issues of Aging that the church must address. One of the five was transportation. I know, I know, that sounds nothing like the start of a cool or glamorous or cutting edge ministry. But hear me out, this was an issue 8 years ago and it is becoming an even bigger issue today and will be a huge issue in the future. Mobility is a major concern for older adults, and no longer being able to drive oneself can contribute to loneliness, depression and feeling devalued.

This article is about an organization that is attempting to come alongside older adults and help provide transportation. What can the church learn from this and how could we put together an army of volunteers through our faith communities that could reach out and respond to those in need of a ride? I will be the first to say, the actual transporting cannot be the sole job of the minister. But rather lay-people, serving others in this way would be a beautiful thing. Yes?

What have you done or seen or heard in regards to creative and effective transportation ministries for older adults?


Helping Boomers Find Their Place To Serve

One of our primary roles as ministry leaders is to “prepare God’s people for works of service.” (Ephesians 4:12) This task remains just as important (if not more important) for us to do with older adults because our society is sending them a different message. Culture communicates that as people age they should be relegated to the sidelines as if they no longer have something to contribute.

In this podcast, produced by the Older Adult Ministry Network, I talk about specific ways we as church leaders can come alongside older adults and help them find their unique place to serve and invest themselves.

Listen to the podcast here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What have you found to be effective methods in engaging older adults to serve?


Ignite Your Life Talk Show

It was a privilege to be a part of the Ignite Your Life Talk Show event that was filmed live at Valparaiso University on March 12. This one and a half hour show had 6 guests that talked about aging from a variety of perspectives. They were fascinating people for me to meet and interact with. If you would like to watch the show, click on the Ignite Your Life logo below. My specific part is at about 44 minutes, but the entire program has lots of great information so I hope you will take in the entire thing!


Baby Boomers and Beyond: Interview at the NACC


Eighty-Five, a College-Degree and a New Job

One of the ways to break stereotypes about aging and change the view that people hold about the later years is to draw attention to those who are doing amazing and meaningful things with their second-half. 

Jane Gross in Next Avenue’s E-Newsletter recently wrote a great piece about an 85-year old woman who graduated from college this year and landed her dream job accompanying a doctor on house calls to work with the elderly. Read more


Blessing your Adult Children while Living Far Away: A Word to Parents AND Church Leaders

How can parents bless and encourage their adult children even when they live far away?

I was reflecting on this after hearing a young mother in my mom’s group negatively talk about her parents. She wasn’t feeling supported with their 4 young children. I didn’t ask questions, but from what I gathered, her parents had moved away once their children were grown and were now serving on the mission field. My mom friend said, “I’m not going to do that to our kids.”

Obviously there is a lot that could be unpacked with this story and I don’t want you to read too much into it. But the conversation did cause me to consider this question:

“How do we as leaders encourage people to invest themselves in mission efforts that may take them away from their families, but also give them advice and suggestions for fulfilling the ministry they have to their own family?” Read more


How to Get New People to Check Out Your 50+ Ministry

I was cleaning out some files the other day and came across one file all about an event that I led for older adults when I was the 50+ ministry director at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. The event was called the “Remember When Reception” and it reminded me of an important idea that might help those of us who lead older adult ministries. Here is the question for us to consider:

How might we use the momentum of an all-church big event or service to help propel our ministries with older adults forward? Read more

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