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The New Old; Wake Up Church

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The New Old; Wake Up Church

Welcome back to Redd's Diner as we find ourselves sitting around the big table discussing issues involving, "Savvy Seniors"which are part of the "Encore Generation."

Seniors are living longer and doing more in their later years than some people give them credit for.

Even in my own church some members are questioning why we are spending more for youth programs than we are for golden agers, and as I have stated before in my blog musings, seniors make up the larger percentage of our country's population.  Even in our evangelistic outlook, seniors comprise one of the largest unchurched groups.

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Society, in general, fails to look at seniors as individuals with skills and knowledge based upon a wealth of experience and history.

Today, let us look at a group that church executives have identified as the "new old."  They are the boomers that bring much to the church, but often are "unnoticed."

When you look at baby boomers such as my daughters (early 50's), terms such as old, elderly, senior, golden-agers, etc. do not seem to fit or describe boomers.  Many of these boomers, who were involved in youth ministry, are now entering their fifth and sixth decades of life.

So you may be asking what changes do they bring?

  • Baby Boomers are approaching aging in a different way than the preceding generations  They have no desire to spend their retirement years sitting in a rocking chair or playing shuffleboard.
  • Just as when they were young, they are interested in changing the world.
  • They do not want to get old and are doing everything they can to stay healthy and look young.
  • Even if they continue to work, they work at jobs where they can make a difference in society.

The church has bought into the myth that younger is better.

They believe that a growing church has a lot of young people, and if you have too many older adults that must mean that you are a dying church.

Instead, we have the potential to grow a church by increasing the number of older adults because millions of adults over the age of 50 are not Christians.

If we will be intentional about reaching these people for Christ, our churches will grow, especially when you consider that there are 78 million boomers, many of whom are not connected to the church.

As you leave the diner, think about the distinction of doing things with or through older adults rather than seeing them as just older adults.

I also want you to do something that is an option.  Look up Dr. Amy Hanson's website www.amyhanson.org. She is a specialist in gerontology.  Her book, "Baby Boomer and Beyond: Tapping The Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50,"  has provided much of the material for this blog.

Until next time, blessings.