HOW TO START A SENIOR ADULT MINISTRY IN YOUR CHURCH!The Opportunity!The Obstacles and Oppostion!Winning Seniors to the Lord!What Others Are Doing!
The greatest opportunity for the church to reap a harvest in the next 20 years will be in the area of reaching the senior adult population! Why? Because they are the fastest growing segment of the population. Over 70,000 people are over 100 years of age. There are more people over 65 years of age than under 18. At least 10,000 people turn 50 every day in America. The senior adult population is growing three times faster than all of the other age groups! The senior adult is often the forgotten part of the church. Relegated to the back pews, many seniors are not involved in church planning or programs. Yet, approximately 70% of the average church budget comes from those 55 and older. Seniors have the TIME, TALENTS AND TREASURES to bless the church of today and tomorrow.
We believe that God wants us to be fishers of "all men." The church that neglects the senior adult population will be missing out on a great opportunity to capture the wisdom of this group. The world recognizes the advantage of reaching this age group. Marketing is geared more and more toward senior adults. They recognize the experience and work ethic of many senior adults and want them for employees. Opportunities to reach senior adults are everywhere. Every church in the souhtern Missouri district needs to prayerfully consider beginning a ministry to the senior adults in their church and to their community. God has not given up on the senior adults, will the church? At the district level we stand ready to assist the local pastor and congregation to have a vibrant and effective ministry to senior adults. This web site will share information, insights and ideas of how to begin and develop your ministry to this wonderful group of people. Truly, the fields are white (with age) unto harvest. Please help us pray, plan, and prepare for the harvest.
WHAT TO DO FIRST!
Someone once said, "You can do more after you pray, but you can not do anything UNTIL you pray!" Prayer is the most important thing you can do as you begin a Senior Adult Ministry! Every church and community is different. That is why we need God to lead us into a new ministry. Then we CAN do some things!
We will start with five KEY elements that all successfull Senior Adult ministries have in common. Whether you have 5 or 500 seniors there are some basic things you need to include in your planning to start a senior adult program.
1. INVOLVE CHURCH LEADERSHIP
It is important that the pastor and church leaders see the need to reach out to seniors. The National Headquarters of the Assemblies of God begin their Senior Adult Ministry at 50 years old. Some groups start at ages 55 or 60. Wherever you want to start is all right-just start. Perhaps there is someone in your congregation that has shown an interest or burden for "older" people. It may be a younger couple who God can use to lead your group. However God leads, the pastor and leaders of the church need to be involved. Talk to the leaders of your church. Most pastors will support and be glad for someone to begin a ministry to senior adults. However, if they are not, it will be difficult to get much support and encouragement. That is why prayer is vitally important to the beginning of a new ministry. What should you look for in a leader for this new group? There are four qualities that a leader to senior adults should have: 1. A LOVE for seniors. As with any age group, people can sense if a person is doing a ministry out of duty or devotion. Love must be the beginning of a great Seniors ministry.
2. The Senior adult leader must LIKE being around the elderly. Most seniors enjoy talking about what has happened during their lifetime. They love to sing the old hymns, talk about camp meetings, and going to revivals. Seniors children and grandchildren often play an important role in their life. The senior leader must enjoy talking and listening to this group.
3. The leader must also be willing to "LET GO" and share responsibility with others in the group. Giving an opportunity for those who have the talents and wisdom in different areas to bless others will be a key factor in developing a strong ministry to seniors. This will have a two-fold effect. Not only will the person have an opportunity to be used of God, but the group will be stronger as a whole by using others strengths rather than one person trying to do it all.
4. A good leader will also be someone who is willing to LEARN new information. The senior of today has different needs than the seniors of a generation ago. There are lots of new resources and materials available that a person can learn how to reach out to today`s seniors.
As was mentioned earlier, age should not be the sole factor in selecting a leader. Someone with a love and desire to reach out to this group is what you want. Some older person who has a vision but not enough physical strength would be good as an advisor, but not the leader. In addition, the leader must also be willing to learn and try new ways of reaching people. Perhaps God already has someone in your congregation who, with the right encouragement and training, could be a great leader to the group and a blessing to the church and community.
2. MEET WITH INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
Announce a meeting for all those interested in helping form, or getting more information about starting a Senior Adult Ministry. Again, anyone can come, and having people of different ages can give balance and fresh insight in to forming a new ministry. This meeting is important and needs to be prepared for with much prayer and planning.
Before this meeting the leader should do some research in several areas. You need to develop a profile of seniors in the local church and community. Here`s some information you should come prepared to share with the group: 1. How many adults are connected with the church who are 50-65 years of age? How many live in the community who are that age? How many adults are connected with the church who are 65 +? How many live in the community who are that age? You can usually find demographic information at the public library, chamber of commerce or city hall.
What is the potential for ministry to senior adults in the community? Is the town made up of younger or older people? As you begin to become known as a church that is interested in, and reaching out to, senior adults, some people will come to you and want to be a part of an adult ministry. What ministries are senior adults currently being used in at the church? What could they be doing? What are other congregations in your community doing to reach older adults? Talk to some other churches and see what is working and what is not!
Every church must:
EVALUATE WHERE YOU ARE AT IN MINISERING TO SENIORS!
PRIORITIZE THE NEEDS-START WITH YOUR CHURCH`S SENIORS!
BRAINSTORM ABOUT NEW MINISTRIES
3. RECRUIT LEADERSHIP FROM WITHIN THE ADULT GROUP!
You may already have the makings of a dynamic senior adult group in your church. Retired farmers, businessmen, secretaries, teachers, homemakers, health care workers, etc. These people have a lifetime of experience and wisdom. It is up to the leader to give them an opportunity for ministry in and outside the church. Don`t necessarily pick someone you think would be a good leader. Pray, and ask God to bring the leaders to you who will want to serve and use their talents. It may surprise you who will come forth to serve. Many seniors, both in the church and in the community, want to "give back" in life what they have learned.
4. DEVELOP A NAME, MISSION, AND VISION STATEMENT
Ask the group to come up with a name for the group and a mission statement. What name would represent the purpose for the group starting? Pick a Bible passage to support your groups name and mission. Every group should begin with soul-winning and outreach as a PRIMARY goal of the group. Some groups just become a "bless me club" and become stagnant. God will bless a group that wants to reach out to the lost and hurting. The group should understand that from the very beginning they will want to reach out to everyone they can. What do you want to see God accomplish in and through your group?
Looking for a good NAME for your group? Go HERE
5. ORGANIZE SEVERAL GROUPS AROUND MINISTRY GOALS!
Most growing senior adult groups have four-six aspects to them. Just as one size shoe does not fit everyone, so you will want to have enough interest groups to appeal to everyone. One suggestion would be to take a survey and see what the seniors in your church are interested in. Some will want to come together to study the Bible. Another group may want to come together for social reasons, trips, activities, etc. Another will be missions and evangelistic in emphasis. Serving in the church through various ways may be one groups interests. Many seniors are interested in learning new things, so providing learning opportunities is a great way to reach seniors outside the church. Each church will be different but you want leaders for each of the groups mentioned. Again, prayer will be crucial for God to send you leaders in the various areas. As you get leaders for the various groups they will begin to take ownership of their group and it can grow! If you only have a few seniors you may want to start with only one or two different groups, but get ready for more seniors to start coming!
The task is a great one! However, most senior groups started small. Don`t worry about the number of people or programs you have. Just start and God will bless your efforts.
On other web pages we will give more information about Senior Minsitries. There are obstacles and barriers in most churches that keep a senior minstry from developing. Learning what these are and how to overcome them is important. We will also have a list of new ideas and resources to make a Senior program both interesting and exciting for any size church. Please share with others what you have found here that is helpful, and contact the district if we can be of additional help! God bless you!