Friday, January 28, 2011

History, Repeating Itself?

A continuation in a series of posts on "the new old" (here, here, and here)...

Amy Hanson is probably one of the best sources and resources available for ministry opportunities with aging adults. Her scholarship includes a master’s degree in gerontology, followed by a doctorate in human sciences from the University of Nebraska. She has worked in congregations and retirement communities, has a deep commitment to her faith—and now has distilled a wealth of research into a handy new book "Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50." 

A section from the opening chapter of the book really caught my eye. Here's a brief summary: read it, and then ponder the single question following.

In the mid-late 50's millions of baby boomers were nearing adolescence. Never before had there been such an influx of young people who ere drastically shaping the culture. And the church was unprepared. Youth ministry expert Mark Senter writes "The post-war baby boom caught the church without a strategy for dealing with the sudden influx of people whom the media began to call 'teenagers."

The young baby boomers represented a huge untapped resource for the church, and some people began to work at convincing church leaders that youth ministry was vitally important. These entrepreneurs created a sense of urgency among churches to reach out to this young generation before it was too late.

The idea caught on - and expanded. Youth ministries, youth ministers, activity buildings, age specialization in church ministries, para church activities and programs, leadership training for those specializing in youth - the list goes on and on.

Nothing wrong with that.

Flash forward to 2011: those baby boomers who revolutionized youth ministry are now entering their fifth and sixth decades of life. They are marching into their later years of life in unprecedented numbers, healthier and more active than any segment of population before them.

And the urgency of ministry with them is just as great as when they were young - perhaps even greater.

There is much to be gained or much to be lost. It starts with whether or not ChurchWorld chooses to ignore or embrace this aging reality.

As a leader in ChurchWorld, how will you respond to "the new old"?

No comments: