At the seminary where I teach, I offer a course on “Ministry with Older Adults,” designed to help participants learn about the theology and practice of ministry with aging folks–of whom there are many in our congregations!
The statistics point to older adulthood as one of the primary, and growing, demographic groups in churches today. They also suggest that this is the group most likely to be financial supporters of churches. But increasingly, in the highly mobile U.S. it is possible to grow up into young adulthood without much contact with elderly family members. And when in addition, young adult lives are structured around higher education or workplace environments, the combination of these factors means that many people in their twenties and thirties have relatively little if any contact with persons aged 65 or older. For that reason, it seems important in theological education to help students learn about this time of life, and to begin to understand both its commonalities and intersections with other parts of the lifespan as well as its distinctiveness. [Read more…]