Is your church ready to ride the Boomer wave?

I’m a Boomer – born in 1963 – which puts me on the extreme end of that generation. Boomers changed baby-boomersworship and student ministries in the 70s and 80s, and they are bulldozing their way into senior adult ministries and not liking what they are finding. The problem is that many churches are not making any significant changes to adapt to this group. That may prove to be a near-disastrous blow to churches that are already struggling. Is your church ready to ride the wave of Boomers who are entering late adulthood? I’m pretty sure the answer is “no.” But to ignore this large group that numbers in the millions is to court disaster. If you know what’s coming, you can make adjustments now to keep them engaged and harness their late-life potential.

BOOMER BASICS

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, National Population Estimates & Projections:

  • Americans 65+ are the fastest growing segment of the population
  • The number of Americans 65+ has increased twelve-fold (3.1M to 37.9M)
  • An American turns sixty every 7 seconds  (24 hours from now, 11,520 more adults will have turned 60)
  • The Boomers are going to almost double in size by 2030

Boomers double

  • The number of people living to the age of 100 is going to increase significantly by the year 2050…
Centenarians
Number of Centenarians by 2050
  • By 2030, people age 65+ will be at least 19% of the population (that’s 1 in 5).
  • 10 states have a senior population of 1M or more (California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

SENIOR ADULT MINISTERS AND MINISTRIES ARE LARGELY UNPREPARED

The tidal wave of Boomers is going to sweep over the church, leaving many pastors and senior adult ministers scratching their heads and wondering why the Boomers will not engage in senior adult ministry options like their predecessors. The fact is, they aren’t going to. Boomers will not want monthly potlucks, day trips, and game nights. Boomers still want to change the world, and they aren’t going to want to sit around and be served. They changed student and worship ministries, and they aren’t done yet – they are going to want to change senior adult ministry as well.

If you want to know whether or not your church has a good senior adult minister, simply ask him about his plan to engage the Boomers in a new kind of senior adult ministry. If he looks at you with a puzzled look, and cannot articulate a good action plan, chances are he’s one of the staff leaders who are in the process of getting bowled over by Boomers (the problem is, he doesn’t see the tidal wave coming).

Is your church ready for the Boomers? They have time, money, leadership, life experience, and a “get it done” attitude. Please do not squander this resource if you have influence over adult ministries at your church. This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remodel ministries so your church can ride the wave of Baby Boomers.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MINISTERING TO BOOMERS…

If you want to get up to speed on Boomers and ways to engage them as they enter late adulthood, add one or more of these books to your library:

Boomers & Beyond (Amy Hanson)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Craig & Gandy)

One Church, Four Generations (McIntosh)

Who Stole My Church?  (McDonald)

Designing an Older Adult Ministry (Gentzler)

Catch the Age Wave (Win Arn)

The Graying of the Flock (Knapp)

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