Serving Seniors and Seniors Serving - Issue #225 (April 10, 2015)
This is an excerpt from a PDF download. To download the full text of this document, click: Serving Seniors and Seniors Serving
Ask Middle Tennessee United Methodists about a great older-adult ministry, and chances are they will name Belmont UMC in Nashville. Belmont's ministry is named "Serving Seniors and Seniors Serving." Service is integral to the mission of Belmont, and this ministry is no exception. The Older Adult Council helps plan, coordinate, and maintain the ministry, working to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of older adults. One aspect of the ministry serves seniors. The second aspect provides opportunities for seniors to serve others.
Mystery outings are an example of how Belmont serves seniors. These outings offer surprise and fellowship as members guess their destination. Seniors serve others through annual projects. Projects have included providing transportation for seniors who no longer drive, holding a conference on good aging, and developing ministry with Baby Boomers.
To build this ministry, Belmont created an Older Adult Council and included representatives from each adult Sunday school class. Nancy Krecraft Brown, age 94, agreed to represent her class so that she could keep up with all the activities offered. Next, the congregation developed a brochure with brief descriptions of the opportunities for seniors to serve and to be served. The brochure features a calendar of senior events, along with the leaders’ and members’ contact information. It has become a handy reference guide that keeps older adults connected with one another and their church.
When Jim and Starr Strickland came on board as facilitators of the group, they wanted to offer missional activities that foster community and support for older adults. Many activities are free since some members are on fixed incomes. When fees must be charged, the council works to keep the expense low for participants. The Rev. Heather Harris, the pastor for senior adult ministries, also works with the council to plan ways that senior adults can fulfill the second part of their calling -- serving others in the name of Jesus Christ.
Questions for Discussion
- How does your church offer ministry with older adults instead of just ministry to older adults? How are older adults designing or giving input into their own programs?
- How does your congregation integrate older-adult ministries into the life of the congregation?
- With whom can you partner to meet the needs of older adults in your community?