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:
- 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.
- Longer Lives. Seniors are living longer and are more active than past generations.
- 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.
- Availability. Retired folks have time on their hands and most are eager to make a difference.
- 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.