Posted by: morgan1965 | October 30, 2009

Living the Good Life

Today, I read an article entitled “The Good Life” [“AARP Magazine”, November & December 2009]. The article suggests that “older Americans are enjoying their later years with a nod toward God.” In other words, when Americans reach their senior years, there is a spiritual shift – toward God.

According to the article, 70% of people at age 75 and beyond say that religion is very important in their life. At age 65-75, it is 62%. At age 50-64, it is 61%, and 54% from age 30-49. Finally, at age 18-29 it is 44% who say religion is very important in their life. This is only one analysis, but it does have some interesting conclusions.

Are there any surprises for you? Are these statistics reflected in the community where you live and in the congregation where you worship God?

This Pew Center Research survey is titled “Growing Old in America.” The study also suggests that somehow, life gets better as one grows older. The seniors surveyed said that there is “more time with family, less stress, and more financial security.”

Now, I wonder: Why don’t churches creatively evangelize [share the Good News of Jesus Christ] among senior citizens?

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Responses

  1. I believe your interpretation of the AARP Snapshot relating to older people and Church, could be somewhat distorted, perhaps even biased, based on the reality that most of the Churches in the WV Annual Conference, and throughout most of the Church in the US, is comprised of older people. While there may be some of the older generation who do not know Christ, and given that it is always important to share Christ with all people, regardless of their age, there is probably less evidence to do so over a younger group of people.

    I recall in my seminary days during the mid-eighties, the polls indicated that as many as 60% of those under the age of thirty had no understanding of the church, and did not even know simple bible songs such as “Jesus Loves Me”. Further, as I recall, the polls suggested that the older a person was when introduced to the Gospel, the less likely they were to receive the good news and act upon it.

    Is this not the logic behind the current emphasis to attract 18 to 30 year olds into our church buildings? Should we not be engaged in identifying, relating to, interacting with, and attracting young people? If we continue to focus on the older members, which we currently do very well, will we not find ourselves with empty buildings in the not-so-distant future?

    Even Wesley Theological Seminary has issued a warning of the lack of younger ministers entering into the call of full-time ministry. Why? Because they are not even in many of our Churches to hear the call.

    Can we say for the next decade focus on the young and let the older members tend to themselves. After all, have they not heard the gospel for as many years as they have been sitting in the pews? And if they have heard, should they not already be engaged in reaching out to their peers?

    Let us not further burden our Pastors and leaders with the task of reaching the elderly at the expense of the young. In fact, let us not burden them further. Period.

    If the elderly are to be evangelized, then let the older members of the Church take that responsibility upon their shoulders. After all, according to the AARP article, they have the time to do so.


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