Numerous on-line searches for study materials specifically applicable to our senior adult Sunday school class produced, well, nothing.
What does this have to do with emotionally intelligent pastoring and growing your church? Please give me a moment to explain.
My husband, Bud, and I team teach a senior adult Sunday school at our church. Though varied, age ranges are typically 60 – 90+. Some of our most faithful members have been in the 90+ age category.
The results of my online search for studies specific to that age group surprised and frustrated me.
It surprised me that with all of the special studies for various age groups from toddler through college and into young adulthood, yet nothing so far as I could locate exists for the older adults.
It frustrated me. Seniors have age-specific pressing needs and concerns. Health issues, chronic pain, unchurched, irreligious, non-believing children and grandchildren, concerns about changes in society, the ongoing work of the church, and desire to leave a legacy. These are but a few of the special needs facing seniors.
So, perhaps my observation about the non-availability of age-specific Bible study materials for this generational group simply means I did not look in the right places. (By the way, if that is the case, please let me know a good source!)
However, it made me wonder if ageism affects us in the church?
Are we sufficiently attuned to the unique needs of the boomers (born 1946-1964), the silent generation (born 1925-1942, also known as the “Lucky Few” who avoided both World Wars), and the greatest generation (also known as the G.I. Generation born 1900 -1924).
I recall Abraham, Sarah, and others God used in old age.
The Biblical exhortations about the wisdom of the aged come to mind as well. For example, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." (Proverbs 16:31)
So, what does this have to do with emotionally intelligent pastoring and growing your church? Simply this: are we sufficiently attuned to the needs of the older generations? And, could it be that a golden opportunity for ministry is in the gray right before us?