My friends at the SBTC (Southern Baptists of Texas Convention) have invited me to present at next month’s Senior Adult Ministry Forum on February 6-7. I quickly reached for a resource written by a friend and colleague at LifeWay, Bill Craig. Bill’s book, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, is about leading your church to have a meaningful ministry to Baby Boomers.
Were you aware that 11,000 people a day are turning age 55 for the next 14 years? That’s 11,000 people a day for the next 14 years. Wow! Boomers are expected to live an average of more than 82 years.
The church must now consider how to move Boomers into a meaningful senior adult ministry, one into which they are going to go kicking and screaming. Boomers don’t want to think of themselves as old, and they have little intentions of moving gracefully into your church’s senior adult ministry. Haven’t you had difficulty getting them to move up already? It’s just going to get worse…unless you think about your options and then take action.
In the RESPECT book, the author recommends that churches consider having 2 types of ministries…maintaining their current ministry to senior adults, and creating a second one designed by Boomers for Boomers (people age 55-70). Bill even suggests the possibility of a third ministry to Empty Nest adults between the ages of 40-55. Does this look like your church’s current ministry to these adults?
As you think about the aging adults in your church, consider these characteristics of people in the Boomer generation:
1. Boomers are seeking a greater plan for their lives in which they can take part.
2. Boomers are open to learning what the Bible says if they can see practical connections to what is going on in their lives. Application is key.
3. Boomers have always had an interest in spiritual things, not necessarily Christian things. They will be open to honest conversations about the gospel if our message is backed up by our lives.
4. Boomers resonate with quality preaching and teaching that engages them. Music cannot be stodgy or amateurish.
5. Boomers want to control their time. They demand flexibility in their schedules, so consider allowing a team of teachers in a class to rotate through the teaching responsibility…preparation time will be reduced, Boomers will experience freedom, and lessons will be full of quality since there is more time in between teaching assignments for preparation.
6. Boomers don’t want a bus trip to view fall foliage. Boomers will respond to events that involve travel, ministry, and spiritual depth. This is an active generation that doesn’t want to age and slow down, so as Bill says, “you’d better get your track shoes on.”
The book is full of more insights about building a new ministry to Boomers since they aren’t expected to make the transition to most of our church’s current senior adult ministries. The book is a quick read with thought-provoking questions and insights.