“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-16, ESV)
Older adults (Baby Boomers and Seniors) make up a sizable portion of the general population and an even larger portion of our churches. To say that they are not all the same is both a simple, yet profound, statement. They encompass a four decade age range and a variety of health circumstances, engagement in society, and faith expression. Just to be older does not mean that one has either made a faith commitment, or has matured in one's faith.
The United Methodist Church has stated its mission: "To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." John Wesley, founder of Methodism, stated and lived according to this purpose: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” The ministry of making disciples is not limited by age. Wesley calls us to do that as long as ever we can.
The prime spot for resourcing your older adult ministry is Discipleship Ministries' Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries. This site is comprehensive and practical in scope, including information for the significant work of ministry with older adults. There are pertinent articles, resources, webinars, etc. offered. Another United Methodist-related site is Primetimers, which offers mission/service opportunities for older adults. In addition, a number of United Methodist conferences have significant resources from which to draw. For a list of resources and ministry ideas, contact Jim Ludwick at jludwick67 [at] gmail.com.
MINISTRY & MISSION
- Shepherd's Centers of America - providing meaning & purpose for older adults
- Stephen Ministries - providing one-on-one care to hurting people
- Young Enough to Serve - helping commission older adults to serve
- Living Fully, Dying Well by Bishop Reuben Job
- 10 Gospel Promises for Later Life by Jane Marie Thibault
- Baby Boomers and Beyond by Amy Hanson
- Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century by Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
- Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life by Jane Marie Thibault and Richard L. Morgan
- Safe Sanctuaries: Older Adults
For more information, contact Jim Ludwick at jludwick67 [at] gmail.com.