I enjoyed the opportunity this past week of spending three days in Anaheim, California at a conference focusing on senior adult ministry. I found it both inspirational and informative. Much of the content focused on the theme of intergenerational ministry, and a related theme was the need to minister through seniors and not merely to them. We heard some eye-opening statistics about the aging population of the U.S. and the challenges and opportunities that this reality affords to our churches. One of the most encouraging things was the passion with which the presenters and the participants spoke of the urgent need to reach senior adults with the gospel--not assuming that this sector of the population has already been adequately evangelized.
I'm still processing and sorting through the stack of notes I took from the plenary sessions and workshops that were offered, but one thing is readily apparent--a once-size fits all approach to ministry with maturing adults simply won't cut it any longer if it ever really did. There's far too much diversity in interests, backgrounds, and experiences in this burgeoning slice of the population as the first baby boomers reach 65 this year for a single model or approach to ministry with them to do the job. I'm meeting tomorrow with some peers in the area to discuss a Planned Aging conference that our 4 churches will be sponsoring next June, and also to talk about some of the nuts and bolts of senior adult ministry. We'll be joined by Frank Fain of The Baptist Home, a recognized authority in this field. It promises to be a great meeting.