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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.