The Administration on Aging tells us: “The older population – persons 65 years or older – numbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000.” It also tells us that “about one in every seven, or 13.7%, of the population is an older America.” The Florida percent of 60 age projections are: 2015 – 26.7% and 2020 – 29.7%.
Those numbers tell us that we are getting old, and not only that, we are getting old fast. The families are smaller and we are living longer, these help to explain the numbers that we have now and the amazing projections for the coming years.
Because of that, the churches that are focusing in young people will need to realign their ministries with the reality of the elderly presence, if they want to continue to grow. They will need to do that to keep their members that are getting old and also to reach out to an aging population around them.
Some churches will take the opposite direction that their counterpart denominations, called traditional, are taking. While these are starting contemporary services to bring young people to their elderly flock. Those independent churches probably will need to create a traditional worship to serve their aging part of the congregation.
We are seeing more and more churches with specialized ministries to serve and ministry to older members. This is an exciting time. The churches are going to adapt, and do that very fast.
On the other hand the elderly people will need to adapt too. Their involvement in the ministry and service will be required. I know that the mindset of many of them is to retire and they look forward to the free time to do what they dreamed for a long time. But things are changing
Older people will also need to rethink their role in the church. They are not considered and viewed as a dead weight anymore. They have an important participation in the life of the church. This is not a strange thing, since in the Bible the elderly people are very active in the life of God’s people. Here are some examples: In the Old Testament – Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, and Daniel. In the New Testament – Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna, Paul, and John.
In the Palm 92: 12-15 we find this beautiful text about elderly people: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” The psalmist calls them righteous, and he says that they will flourish, they will grow, and they will bear fruit. He also says that they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming the Lord.
It is a tremendous definition on the life and ministry of an older person who loves the Lord.
I pray that the churches will make room, a large one, for the elderly ministry. And I pray that the older people will be deeply involved in the live of the church, making difference and mentoring the young ones.
Have a blessed week,