Over the next 19 years, millions of North American Baby Boomers will retire. This large demographic trend will show up everywhere, including churches. Analysts are talking about the “graying of Christianity” on this continent.
Meanwhile, we are expecting an “awakening” to increase among Christians. The modern term would be a “wake-up call.” It will include an increase of mission activity through social networks. The result will be an influx of young adults and families with children.
However, don’t forget about that large (and growing) block of seniors in your congregation.
Focus on these issues:
- Keep providing coffee and refreshments before church. As people age and the kids move away, socializing at church becomes more important.
- Coffee, however, creates an inevitable result. As we age, the bladder becomes weaker. Sensitive churches will provide an “intermission” half-way through the service.
- If you still have bulletins or worship folders, check the print size. If you use a screen for announcements or songs, analyze the size of the wording. Ask someone sitting in the back row who is 70-80 years old.
- Make sure your sound system is the best. That includes the irritating echo many endure in worship because of hard surfaces on ceilings, walls, and floors. If you are one who requires a hearing aid, the echo will drive you nuts! Just ask one of your senior citizens.
- Increase the number of handicap spaces in your parking lot. Most churches I visit are already behind the age wave when it comes to parking sensitivity.
- Make sure your worship space is easily accessible to those with walkers, wheel chairs, canes, or arthritic knees.
- Provide more chairs in the lobby and fellowship space. Make sure they are high enough for an elderly person to get up without help.
- Celebrate milestones, like birthdays and anniversaries. We all should thank God for those who make it to their Golden Years.
- Utilize the wisdom and experience of those who have traveled the spiritual journey through many years. They have much to share with the rest of us!
If you’re a younger member of a church, your natural inclination is to hang around those who are the same age. Consider it your personal ministry to share some of your time engaging the seniors around you. You’ll find that they appreciate it. You’ll sense how much they welcome your kindness and attention. Some day, Lord willing – if you live long enough – you’ll find out, for yourself, how much!
Do you see aging boomers in your church? How are you accommodating this change? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.