Did you know that there are more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18 in the U.S.? Did you know that 50% of older Americans have no religious affiliation? Did you know in 1900 the average life expectancy for Americans was 47 and today it is 77? Did you know that most churches working with older adults have removed the word “senior” from their language and literature?

America is getting older by the day. However, the older adult of today is not the same as a “senior” citizen of yesterday.  Potluck suppers, quilting, Bingo, and shuffleboard will not capture their imagination nor bring them into the church. Today’s older adult requires a whole different ministry approach.

Most retiring boomers are looking for something significant to do with the second half of their life.  Folding and stapling the bulletin won’t do anymore.  They have to have a challenge.

Here are some suggestions for older adult ministries.

  • Mobilize the older adults into meaningful, hands-on ministry to people outside of the church.
  • Older adults make excellent mentors and coaches for younger adults if they relate to them on their terms rather than trying to make them into their image.
  • Ministries for families caring for children and their elderly parents such as Adult Day Care.
  • Many older adults will work fulltime in ministry without pay, so consider offering them an unpaid position on your staff.
  • An excellent book on the subject is Charles Arn, Catch the Age Wave.

What is your church doing to capture the growing age wave?