12 Reasons to Have Monthly Lunch with a Senior Adult…or a Bunch of Them

If you’re a church leader, you need to spend intentional time with a senior adult – or with a lot of them. Even a monthly lunch and conversation will pay dividends in your ministry. Here’s why you need to prioritize this time:

  1. They have gospel stories to tell. They’ve lived life, and they know the faithfulness of a God who has never let them down. Their testimonies are worth the time to listen.
  2. They’ll be grateful for the attention you give them. Few people appreciate face-to-face time like senior adults do. They’ll remember the hour you spent with them more than you likely will.
  3. They will encourage you. Most senior adults have great respect for their church leaders. Even when they disagree, they still respect the position – and they want to be an encouragement.
  4. They might tell you something you need to hear. Sometimes they’re “in the know” more than you think. They might know a ministry need or concern that you need to hear so you can follow up. 
  5. They can be really funny. Some will say whatever they’re thinking, and they’re not worried about making an impression.  I love listening to seniors laugh about their own lives.
  6. They need to know your heart as much as your message. They usually trust the Word of God; what they need to do is trust you. You can earn that by spending time with them.
  7. They’ll pray for you. Some folks say they’ll pray, but they never get to it. Others—like many senior adults—really do pray.
  8. They often have unbelieving family members to reach. They can usually point to generations of people who need Jesus, including some folks who live in your church’s ministry area. Your seniors can be a connection to evangelistic prospects.
  9. They’re often influencers in the church. Genuinely love them, respect them, and spend time with them, and they might help you fulfill the vision God’s given you for your church.
  10. They—like all of us—still need discipleship. They may not always understand how deeply they need discipleship, but I’ve always found senior adults open to learning from someone who loves them.
  11. They’ll need your ministry at some point. I have fond memories of ministering to senior adults in times of illness or death, especially when I’ve been friends with them prior to the crisis.
  12. If you’re not already there, you’ll be a senior adult someday. Learn what you can now from joyful, trusting seniors so that you’ll be the same witness when you get there.

I know that some senior adults struggle with change in the church, but I’ve found them to be welcoming and loving. Taking time to be with them is not a waste of my time.  

11 Comments

  • Mark says:

    When you do this, please be willing to have a hard discussion with this group of people about how they treat the younger people in the church, like their grandchildren. This group holds a lot of power over the leadership and the pastor. I saw this group do everything they could to keep the church like it was in the 1950s, and it ran the younger people off and some even left Christianity. I have seen them do nothing towards getting the pastor to preach a sermon that the younger people could apply to their lives because they did not want to listen to it or just did not care. On the opposite, I have seen this group do nothing when the pastor railed against the young, even baptized Christians who were in church. This told me that they condoned what was said. This group is the only one that the leadership and pastor will listen to and someone needs to get to them and explain the problem before you have no one left.

  • John W Carlton says:

    When my wife and I came to Calvary Baptist Church in Jesup way back in 1974, we began a Sr. Adult ministry. It is still going today. We were both young whipper snappers age 28, and these dear people loved and guided us through our lives there. I am now back at Calvary having served there 19 years, and going bivocational serving other churches, but also keeping in touch with Calvary. It is gratifying to see that ministry that began 43 years ago still going and growing. I now belong to this group, not by default like it was when we started but because of grey and less hair, aching joints, and getting to be mature in age. Thank you for your insight. Reading your daily blogs is something to which I look forward.

  • Jon Daniels says:

    Great advice, Chuck! God is really showing me some of these very things right now, especially since my father passed away in Dec at age 79, then my mother-in-law in Feb at age 86. Just yesterday, I had a 93 yr-old woman who has Alzheimer’s pray for me as I was visiting w/ her. I had taken her hand & had just prayed for her. When I said, “Amen,” she didn’t let go of my hand, but just began praying the most beautiful prayer! It was an amazing moment! We “important, busy” pastors (tongue in cheek) need to slow down & minister to these folks. I regret that I’ve not done enough of this type of pastoral ministry.

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