To Be Young At Heart: Rethinking Senior Adult Ministries

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I so appreciate the ministry of Thom Rainer at LifeWay. He has now given us some helpful information on five major trends for churches in America. I am already starting to see some of these trends. Allow me to share with you one particular trend:

Senior adult ministries in churches will experience steep declines. As the large Baby Boomer generation moves into their older years, they will resist any suggestion that they are senior adults, no matter how senior they may be. Unfortunately, many churches are slow to adapt to new realities. If they do senior adult ministry the way they’ve always done it, it will be headed for failure.

Our “senior” adults act younger that at any other point–and this is typical of the ‘boomer’ generation (those born from 1946-1965). And even at my church, there are those who are in their late 50s and early 60s (seniors by AARP standards) who do not have a senior adult mindset of ready and waiting for ‘retirement.’ Our newer senior adults do not want to stop!

I think of that song Frank Sinatra made popular: “Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth to be young at heart.” That typifies most of our new senior adults.

I appreciate Dr. Rainer’s advice on rethinking senior adult ministry. It cannot be as before, and it cannot be business as usual. These younger seniors do not want a chaplain, they want to be part of the army marching for the Lord!

What are some things you all are doing in rethinking senior adult ministries in 2010?

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