Friday, September 14, 2018

Don't call them seniors

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) don't like being called seniors and they're are used to getting things their way. This identity was given to them by marketing firms after noticing that the high birthrates and exploding economy following WWII created a generation whose presence had an impact on everything. They were responsible for daycare centers, professional youth ministry, singles ministry, megachurches and, now, older adult ministry.

They are healthier, more active, better educated and more financially secure than any previous generation. As a result they want to do something of value with the second half of their lives. You will find them volunteering with disaster response teams, nursing homes, food pantries and more. A church that wants to attract Boomers must be active during the week.

They have needs as well. Some have aging parents. Some are raising grandchildren. Many are trying to maintain contact with families that live in different parts of the country. Too many are coping with the broken marriages, addictions and financial struggles of their adult children.

Baby Boomers are creative and innovative and want God-sized tasks. They are willing and capable of running their own ministries; many have run businesses. They like options and trying new things.

Their busy lifestyles demand that events start and end on time. Boomers find it difficult to make long-term commitments because they like to travel to family events and for fun. They prefer to serve on a rotation basis that allows flexibility.

Another way Boomers are changing churches is the emergence of inter-generational ministry. They grew up in age-segregated society (school, work, retirement community, nursing home.) Now they enjoy doing things with their grandchildren and people of any age.

Many Boomers are unchurched and, although they are not looking for church, they may be looking for new friends. Weekday and evening activities may create new entry for Boomers and an opportunity to explore faith in Jesus Christ in this season of life.

Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Psalm 71:17-18 (NIV)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Five reasons why outreach to seniors is a good idea

One of the strengths of Baptist Temple is our Seniors. We have a group of people over 60 who are mature in Christ and ready to serve. Over the last ten years they have been the force behind our community ministries and building and grounds maintenance. On Sundays they lead in worship, hospitality, Sunday school and more.

Church outreach programs tend to ignore this particular demographic in favor of married couples with young children. That can be a big mistake. Seniors still have much to give and are looking for greater challenges. When Caleb was 85 years old he made this declaration to Joshua:

“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:10-12)

Here are five reasons why outreach to Seniors is a good idea:
  1. There's a lot of them. In 2006, Baby Boomers started turning 60. This is the largest age demographic in America, numbering 76 million. San Antonio (the location of Baptist Temple) will experience a “silver tsunami” as seniors from around the nation will be moving in ever increasing numbers to this desired retirement location.
  2. Longer Lives. Seniors are living longer and are more active than past generations.
  3. Experience. Many are experienced church members who are generous with their time, treasure and talents. They bring the knowledge, skills and finances needed to support church programs.
  4. Availability. Retired folks have time on their hands and most are eager to make a difference.
  5. Ministry field. Some seniors live in poverty. Social Security and other benefits are not enough to provide for their needs. Some are lonely and isolated. Many are unchurched. This is a ripe field for ministries of caring and evangelism.

It is important to bear in mind that the term Senior includes a wide range of ages. People who are a decade or more apart in age have different needs. Another important factor is that many who are past 70 do not want to drive at night but have plenty of daylight hours available.

Ministry to and with Seniors has great potential. This generation of American Christians has been given more affluence, education, time, and opportunity to serve God on earth than any other. How can the church maximize this gift from God.

Monday, July 16, 2018

God, Change, and Baptist Temple

Guest blog by Kay Richardson

In 1993 I went on a youth mission trip as an adult sponsor to Washington DC. The church we stayed at and ministered to was very different than the Baptist Temple Church at that time. They had different groups worshiping at different times, they fed the community, they had a clothes closet, the homeless slept around the building. Little did I know that experience would prepare me for what Baptist Temple’s mission is today.

In the past few years, members of BTC have experienced a lot of change. Five different churches rent space and worship on our campus. Some of our activities and times of worship include those churches on our campus. VBS is now a campus-wide/community event. Our gym is rented nightly by different sports organizations. In recent days, a funeral planning service has set up an office area and added their signs to our building. We now have solar panels all across our roof.

Through these different churches and organizations, God has blessed us financially along with the tithes and gifts from our own members. And because of that, we can continue to minister to our members and to the community!
The BTC of 2018 is very different from the BTC of years gone by. We can either lament what was, or we can rejoice in what is and is to come! I believe God wants us to embrace the times of change. Look around—God is at work in many different ways!
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”