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Older Adult Ministry

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?


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?


Baby Boomers and Beyond: Interview at the NACC


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


Binge Drinking and Adults 65+

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently put out a report on binge drinking. Noted in the report is that the age group that binge drinks the most often is the 65+ age group.

This should cause us to stop and consider a couple of things: Read more


Serving Our Elders

Nearly every Sunday, (and Christmas morning was no exception) our family worships and serves at a retirement community. My husband, Jon, is the chaplain and he is the pastor to this flock of people and our children and myself are a part of the community of faith. We have two services every Sunday morning – one contemporary and one traditional (Just kidding!). But seriously, we have two services because the 80 to 100 people who attend church each week can’t all fit into the room at the same time! Read more


Moving Older Adults Off the Sidelines and Back into the Game

Wes and Judy Wick lead a dynamic ministry called, YES! (Young Enough to Serve). I have known both of them for several years and we share a similar passion for ministry with older adults. This video that their son produced is outstanding! It’s just 3 minutes long and communicates in a very compelling way why we must engage older adults in the life of the church. So watch, be inspired and then go do something! Read more


Why Aren't More Leaders Excited About Ministry with the New Old?

More than a year ago in Leadership Journal, Dave Travis, managing director of Leadership Network, mentioned three things in the church that should be changing by now but aren’t. One of these was ministry to the encore generation. Dave said, “With the huge baby boomer population in this demographic, I’m surprised we’re not seeing growth for this sector.”

His words echo my own thoughts. In talking with many pastors, I have found that most of them do not have this area of ministry on their radar. Health care, the travel and leisure industry and even fashion merchandising is paying attention to the bulging numbers of adults in their 50s, 60s and 70s, but the church seems to be ignoring it. Why is this? Here are just a few of my ideas on the subject. Read more


Loving our Elders and Fulfilling their Dreams

I’m going to take a little detour on the blog today, moving away from my usual talk about the new old and focusing instead on those at the very end of life’s spectrum. The fastest growing segment of the older adult population are those who are 85+ and churches need to look for innovative ways to communicate love and care to this growing group. Read more

Different Generations and Different Needs means Different Ministries

Last Thursday I wrote about one church’s attempt to recruit people over 50 into the current senior adult ministry. The week after this church listed the qualifications for being a senior, they wrote about various activities and programs of the senior adult ministry. Here are several of them that were listed in the church bulletin: Read more

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