12 Ways to Engage Seniors in Church / Ways to Engage Older Church Members
The Golden Generation in Your Congregation is a great wealth of Wisdom and Experience. This demographic in your congregation has special needs at the same time, be used in a spiritual way to strengthen your church. Ways to Engage Older Church Members Some Key points
- Many are Retired have time to serve
- Have more Money Available to help others
- Many now single and are lonely, but love to be visited or to visit
- Help Greatly in Hospital Visiting
- Now retired have many spiritual Gifts they can use – Gives them purpose (since jobs are retired from)
- Know the Church Intimately – members and Children – Grandchildren
- Plan for a time gone for visiting Children
- Care needed work long Hours
- Older Singles Program Possibilities – Companionship – Trips – Vacations
Older church members want to feel that they are a part of their church community. They long to serve in ways that will not strain them physically but will help them feel they have made their contribution to the Body of Christ.
Many churches face the challenge of not knowing how to engage their senior citizens in meaningful ways. Below are 12 ways you can consider to help your older church members be engaged in the church.
1. Fellowship for the Elderly
A church can organize a special fellowship where the older church members can feel at home and can discuss their unique issues. It will be a space that will provide them with solace and new friends who understand them better than the younger generation. They will be free to share their life stories and pray with others in their fellowship group. This can be held at a regular interval and accommodate the needs of each member.
We had it on Sundays after services. Several times we had it served by the Teenagers. We gave them a meal and then gave them small gifts of Appreciation.- to let them know they are loved.
2. Care Ministry for the Elderly.
Your church can have a ministry that cares for the needs of the older members and invites them to share any need they may have. Such a ministry will focus on things like home visits, prayer sessions, partnering with health care providers, etc. Having a ministry for the older church members means that they will not be neglected but cared for in a special way. Some Needs they might have
- Needing help to get to Doctors
- Need Help getting Medicines
- Need Visitations
- Help around their houses – mowing grass – flower beds – Small Home Repairs
- Need to be Checked on Regularly
- Connect them with Meals on Wheels Programs
3. Live stream services/ Virtual Church/Global Reach
A lot of the older church members may not make it to church every Sunday and you need a way to ensure they feed on the Word of God. When you live to stream your services and other events they can watch the sermons on Facebook live or YouTube, and keep tabs on what is going on in their home church. They can watch the services when they are at home, or even in the hospital for those who have been admitted.
Most Seniors like Facebook – so they can keep up with family.
This will allow you to do several things – It will greatly expand the reach of your church’s outreach. Provisions need to be made for this couple of items
- Attendance – Each Platform can tell you attendance watching – This can be added to your presence attendance – to correctly gauge you effectivity
- People can be at your service from different locations. – we have had members move and yet they still attend virtually with us.
- Need to provide Online giving opportunities
- Need to provide prayer request
- need to provide Communion – You can buy pre=packaged communion so that Your Virtual Congregation can take communion at the same time the in Person church does.
- Enable chat on platforms so that you can – have fun exchanges
- Zoom Classes, you can involve people from all directions – Special Classes – Old Testament Surveys – Hebrew Language – Greek Classes – Use your imagination.
- People can attend Church while on vacations
- Collect Email List of your Church – you can communicate congregationally quickly
- Special Needs, Collections, Ministries can be distributed.
- You Literally Build a Global Congregation
4. Hobby Classes.
The older members of your church may not have anyone to talk to at home because they live alone or their children are busy working. A hobby class will give them something to keep them busy during the week and make them feel like they are being useful to society. You can have them create gift items that you can take to children’s homes during Easter, Christmas, or other church events. Some suggestions
- Games and crosswords
- Book Clubs
- Computer Classes
- Self Defence for Seniors
- Social Security and Health Workshops Structured for you Older
- Exercise Classes
- Water Aerobics at you Local Y or Pool
5. Field trips.
You can organized field trips for your older church members and give them a chance to breathe some fresh air. Activities that are not physically taxing will leave them feeling cheerful and hopeful. Many of them don’t get to go out a lot and such a trip will be a godsend to them. You only need to ensure that their special needs, for example, diet and medication are taken into consideration. Some suggestions
- Amish Country
- Historical Locations
- Plays – Opera – Shows
- Card Parties
- Game Parties
A good way to engage your older church members is to organize a picnic where each of them can bring a food item to share with others. It can be as simple as a sandwich, nothing complicated. You can decide beforehand who will bring what so that you ensure that the food comprises a balanced diet. You can also opt to bring food and invite them to attend the picnic. That is something you and your older members can decide together.
Some Congregations have purposely built on their properties, Shelter Houses with Picnic Tables – This can greatly encourage fellowship and family gatherings
Some of your older members would love to mentor the younger generation and you can create a mentoring program for that purpose. This gives them a chance to pour into the lives of others and impact the next generation. You can have a structured program so that it can be effective in achieving its goal.
One of Our Close Friends was a Deacon at another congregation. His area of service was the Seniors / Teens Activities. He said it was so exciting to help the younger ones gain respect and honor for their elders. On the Senior Side sometimes as we get older it is harder t understand the youth, younger generations. It helped in so many ways. The youth want to go to many activities – most need money – older people are glad to help the young ones.
8. Recognition service / Honor
Something to consider is a recognition service or other event where you can recognize and reward the efforts of the older members in your church. They will greatly appreciate it and it will give them a sense of significance. When people grow older, they sometimes feel like they are not needed and this can cause them to feel depressed. Celebrate them and show them how important they are to the church and society.
9. Small Group Leadership.
For the older members who have time and strength, you can engage them as small group leaders where they can teach or lead intercessors. They still have their God-given gifts and you can look for how to engage them in relevant ministries. The only thing to remember is to give them assignments that don’t require moving up and down a lot.
10. Pair your Older Members with Church Leaders.
A good way of engaging church members is to pair them with pastors or other church leaders who will check up on them and keep in touch with them regularly. This makes the older members feel that their church cares for them and looks after their interests. The pastors or church leaders can report to the others on how the older members under them are faring.
For those older members who are qualified counselors, you can put them as part of your counseling team. They are wise and experienced and they can help the younger members navigate the issues of life better. Older members have a lot of wisdom from their years of learning and making mistakes. They know the pitfalls to avoid in life and will be helpful to any church.
12. Cross-generational activities.
You can engage your older members by creating cross-generational activities where they socialize with the younger church members. There is a lot each generation can learn from the other. It’s interesting that a lot of grandparents are taught how to use smartphones by their grandchildren and not their children. When different generations learn from each other, they are able to coexist harmoniously.
Get some ideas from them and you will be surprised that they can help you identify activities that best suit them.
God Bless Greg