By Amy Hanson
The following blog is excerpted from an article which originally appeared at The Christian Standard – How Some Churches are Ministering to and with Older Adults.
In order to better reach out to those who are 50-plus, some churches are dividing their ministry into different age categories.
Paul Stetler, senior adult minister at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado, (www.lbcc.org), established three different ministries with three separate leadership teams as a part of the overall ministry with adults 50 and better. The Prime Time leadership team is comprised of those ages 50 to 65, the Mountain Toppers are 65 to 75, and the Saints Alive are 75-plus.
Stetler says, “The age distinctions are not defined in our promotional materials, nor are they something we advertise. They simply become a way of guiding the various activities that each leadership team plans.” For example, Prime Time organizes ski trips, hikes, and a yearly campout. Most of the people who attend these events fall into the 50 to 65 category, however there are some in the older age groups who choose to participate. Stetler says this has been a great experience for everyone.
The time of day certain activities are offered can influence who attends. Halftime Talks is a monthly, educational ministry at Central Christian Church in Mesa, Arizona (www.cccev.com). This ministry targets active retirees, according to Paul Forsythe, second-half ministries pastor. Its mission is to inspire and equip people to finish well through learning opportunities and a lunch. Speakers have included a physician, an attorney, and a wealth management adviser, and topics have ranged from Bible study methods to refugee resettlement.
Regardless of how an older adult ministry is organized, it is important to recognize the diversity within this area of ministry. Some adults who are 50-plus are limited by health, while others are still working full-time, and still others may be raising grandchildren. Successful older adult ministries are those that have a variety of opportunities available in order to reach the varied needs and interests of the people.
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.