Silver Ministry (Romans 12, Issue 270)
Issue 270 — February 25, 2016
One of the oldest Korean churches in the United States, the San Francisco Korean UMC, had been the center of Korean patriotic activities for its first 15 years when the Korean diaspora fought for homeland independence from Japanese occupation in the early twentieth century. Until the 1960s, the church was the only active social and educational center with a means for cultural identification for Koreans in San Francisco. The San Francisco Korean UMC is still a symbolic church for Korean immigrants.
Like many other aging churches, two-thirds of the members of the San Francisco Korean congregation are in their 60s and older. It was critical that church leaders acknowledge this trend in order to continue to make ministry relevant. The Silver Ministry was born to help people effectively deal with the challenges of aging, such as loneliness, helplessness, and the search for meaning. The Silver Ministry helps these older adults so they may continue to maintain their dignity of life as children of God, to share the fruits of love and blessings as they journey toward maturity in their faith, and to mobilize them for the ministry of the church.
The San Francisco Korean UMC organized a team of people who felt called to serve in older-adult ministry. Then the team met a number of times to equip themselves as a servant team based on biblical principles and to discern where God was leading them. One of their innovative proposals was the launch of the monthly “Saturday Hope Cafe,” which features learning programs with speakers and leaders, small-group chat room meetings, and a fellowship lunch.
The older adults of the community along with church members enjoy the opportunity to become connected with one another in the spirit of love, to hear meaningful and relevant lectures, and most of all, to feel honored and appreciated as precious children of God. The hospitality, respect, engagement, communication, and interaction between the adults on the leadership team and the older-adult participants re-energized the church and its ministries.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What are the biblical principles of your congregation in undertaking ministries? How does your congregation discern when God is leading the church on a new path?
- What are the legacies of your congregation? How could your congregation continue to build those legacies?
Produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to communicate effective principles and practices demonstrated by congregations that are actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
These congregations are marked by:
- Clarity around the mission and vision of the congregation.
- Practice of spiritual disciplines, both corporately and individually.
- Nurture in growth in discipleship through mutual support and accountability.
- Cultivation of intentional and mutual relationships with the most vulnerable—the poor, children, the imprisoned, the powerless.
- Consistent concern for inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ, combined with wise practices for initiating them into the body of Christ.
- Connectional relationships that facilitate participation in God’s mission of global transformation.
- Shared clergy and lay leadership.
© 2016 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this newsletter for use in United Methodist congregations. This newsletter is provided as a service of Discipleship Ministries and is funded through World Services apportionment giving by local United Methodist congregations.