The following is the preface of a Senior Adult Ministries handbook presented at the Assemblies of God Leadership Conference on February 7-8, 2018 by Rev. Ray James.
“Since society has decided anyone 55 (or 50) and older is a senior adult, we are looking at a 40 year (+/-) period. Such a time span allows for multiple generations of the same family to be classified as senior adults. There are currently three generations of senior adults, and a fourth is on the horizon. The G. I. Generation (Government Issue) includes folks born before 1925. The Silent Generation consists of those born between 1926 and 1945. Members of the Baby Boomer Generation were born between 1946 and 1964… 76,000,000 of them. Each generation has its own unique values and interests, developed because of historical events or societal trends of their formative years. These values and interests will, in turn, influence what seniors will like to do. The church today should learn all we can about these generations.
The generation to watch closely is Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964. The first of the Baby Boomers began turning 65 years of age on January 1, 2011. Every day in the United States 10,000 people are celebrating their 65th birthday. On May 10, 2017 the U.S. population was estimated to be 325,019,850. Of that total population, 54,872,341 are 65 and older (nearly 17% of the U.S. population). However, by the year 2020 that number is expected to be over 74,000,000, with the U.S. population being approximately 335,765,000 (over 22% will be over 65, nearly one in four persons). Almost one quarter of the average American’s life will be spent in retirement.
Statistics from the United States Department of Health and Human Services show that from 1900 to 2004 life expectancy increased from 47.6 to 78.4 years of age. The economy and lower fertility rates in the U.S. have led to a decline in the birth rate. The result is an increase in the senior adults, and decrease in the children and youth in the United States.
For the first time in the history of our nation, there are more senior citizens than teenagers. In addition, accordingly, we now have an urgent need for more consideration to be given to the fastest growing population, which is the Senior Adults.
In our churches today, we have wonderful nursery, children’s, youth, and young adult ministries. And, while we have men’s and women’s ministries, they are not specifically tailored to senior adults. Accordingly, some of our seniors do not attend these ministries.
It is true that many of our churches have some form of seniors’ ministry; however, those ministries are typically limited to a once-a-month breakfast, or lunch, and very little more.
As our churches have intentionally sought for ways to reach the Millennials, Gen X and Gen Y age groups, some have unintentionally driven away many of the senior adults in our churches.
Research shows these Boomers are very different from past seniors. They are better educated, healthier, living longer, more active, more financially secure and have much more to offer than previous generations, and they want to use their talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts.
The desire of the Senior Adult Ministries Department of the Assemblies of God is to offer a model for our churches to build upon in the establishment of their own Seniors’ Ministry for their church.”
Look inside the handbook for thoughts and tips for setting up a Senior Adult Ministry.Download Handbook