There was a day that one of the most creative outlets for the “Senior Adult” minister was the opportunity to come up with a cute name for the senior adult group at the church. Remember some of these? Triple L Club, Seasoned Saints, Keenagers, Ageless Wonders, Sizzlin’ Seniors, Merry Makers, JOY Club (Just Older Youth - They always feel the need to explain that one to us…), Hilltoppers, Fun-Timers, Ever-Ready Club, Prime-Timers, and so many more. Literally, I have dozens and dozens of these. Untold hours have been invested in coming up with cute little names for our cute little groups of seasoned saints.
Problem is, if you poll baby boomers today, guess what their preferred moniker is, by far, when it comes to “groups” they want to be connected to in the church? Adults. Wow. There went all those hours of creativity! And you want to know what their LEAST favorite designation is as we seek to categorize them so we can more effectively minister to them? Yep, you guessed it! Senior Adults.
Boomers don’t just want to be referred to differently; they have different needs, hopes, dreams, and desires when it comes to ministry in and throughout the church. Rather than be ministered to, boomers have a great desire to make an impact in the second half of their lives, which means our ministry with boomers must move in a different direction than traditional senior adult ministries have in the past if we’re going to tap into their abilities and their frenetic, busy lives.
Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when seeking to minister effectively with boomers:
• Boomers are great participators, but not great belongers. Emphasize events and experiences that encourage participation.
• Boomers are looking for a way to make an impact with the second half of their lives and are extremely open to short-term mission opportunities, finding ways to use their gifts to serve in the community, and much more. Our ministry with boomers will look very different than our traditional legacy senior adult ministries did.
• Boomers are non-institutional. They are not as tightly woven into the denominational weave of your church as previous generations may have been. Don’t be shocked to learn they are also participating in churches of other faiths.
• Boomers look for the practical and the pragmatic in sermons and Bible studies. Ensure that application and practicality is clear and real in every encounter.
• Boomers are high innovators and expect us to be as well. They will call us out on our failure to innovate.
• The boomer wave is here. 10,000 boomers are now turning 65 every single day. Are you prepared to minister to them?
• In 2017, for the first time in American history, there were more people over 50 than under 50 in our population. The boomer wave is here! Is your church ready?
Texas Baptists have taken the lead in helping to prepare churches, ministers, and volunteers to more effectively minister to the boomer wave. For the past six years, we have hosted a National Boomer Ministry Conference, Catch the Boomer Wave, reaching people from all over the world. This year’s conference was held Sept. 6-7, 2018, at First Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. For details, additional resources, tools, and encouragement go to texasbaptists.org/boomers. Plan to join us next year and bring your team of volunteers with you to join the hundreds of others from churches all over the country and beyond who are preparing to “Catch the Boomer Wave!”