By Amy Hanson
VolunteerMatch, an organization that helps to connect people with community groups, commissioned an extensive research study in 2006 and discovered that more than half of adults 55 and older are interested in volunteering. The challenge is that many of them are having difficulty finding the right way to share their skills and experience.
As leaders, what can we do to help people in the second half of life discover their unique place to serve?
Connect people to God so he can lead them. A few years ago I met a man named Hal who was in his late 70s and had been ministering in the Houston prison system for nearly 20 years. He told me about sitting in church on a Sunday morning, listening as the minister taught from Matthew 25. And he heard in a fresh way the words of Jesus, “I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:36). He said the minister’s words resonated with his own feelings and spurred him to begin visiting, praying, and working weekly with male inmates.
Over the years, he has befriended many of these men, helping them with attorney costs and helping them find jobs when they were released. Hal found a significant ministry he will continue as long as he is physically able . . . and it started because he was listening to God’s voice.
Encourage people to serve in an area of interest. I know of a woman who had always wanted to go on a short-term mission trip, but the opportunity did not present itself until she was 80 years old. Missions had been close to her heart for some time. Fortunately, she did not let her age deter her from participating in a trip with her church to Nicaragua where she was a tremendous blessing to the people who lived there. . . . Continue reading this article on Christian Standard – Leading Older Adults to find Places of Service.
Amy Hanson is a speaker, teacher, writer and consultant who is passionate about helping older adults discover a life of Christ-centered meaning and purpose. She formerly led the active adult (50+) ministries at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. Today, she unites her doctorate in gerontology with her ministry experience to educate and equip leaders, students, health care professionals and older adults on the unique opportunities of an aging America. Find out more about Amy’s ministry at amyhanson.org.