According to the CDC, the elderly population in our nation is expected to increase over the next decade due to longer life spans and aging baby boomers. This means that no matter how young or hip your church may be, you can expect to see the number of elderly church members rise. However, if your church isn’t actively finding ways to serve, connect with, and minister to these elderly church members, chances are they won’t stick around long enough to serve, be served, or feel loved by the family of God.
As the church, it’s our job to honor our elderly church members and work to support them during this period of their lives. Scripture even says in Proverbs 16:31, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.” Elderly church members aren’t to be pushed to the wayside, ignored, or abandoned — instead, we are to see the signs of aging as “crowns of glory” and work to find ways to serve them in our churches.
Take a look at these five ways that you can serve elderly church members.
1. Provide Avenues for Connection for Elderly Church Members
Aging isn’t easy. Along with the physical ailments like limited mobility and chronic conditions come emotional and mental ailments including isolation, loneliness, and even feelings of uselessness. However, we were never meant to have to bear these burdens alone. Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Find ways as a church that you can “bear with one another.” A few ideas include:
- Creating both multi-generational and elderly specific small groups where people can connect.
- Hosting elderly care ministry events for people to attend.
- Pairing elderly members with deacons or leaders in your church who will check in on them regularly and help meet their needs.
2. Live Stream Services and Happenings at Your Church
One of the best ways to serve your elderly church members is to make your church accessible via church live streaming. Some elderly church members will be able to physically be at your building the majority of the time, but others may have trouble driving at night, stay home when the weather is bad, or be homebound altogether. Because of this, it’s a great idea to live stream not only your sermons, but also events, small groups, and other happenings at your church. This will help keep them connected even from afar.
For more, check out our Ultimate Guide to Church Live Streaming.
3. Create Unique Service Opportunities
Scripture is clear that we have each been given spiritual gifts and have a purpose to fulfill in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” It doesn’t say anything that excludes the elderly. Because of this, it’s important that your church creates unique service opportunities designed for elderly church members to be able to serve and use their gifts. Here are a few areas where elderly church members could serve:
- Door greeters
- Extra hands to rock babies in the nursery
- Small group teachers and leaders
- Prayer intercessors
- Decision counselors
4. Include Elderly Church Members in Your Marketing Efforts
Whether it’s intentional or not, more and more churches seem to be excluding senior adults from their marketing efforts. Maybe it’s a focus on new technology, or the desire to see more millennials come to church, but no matter the reason, it’s actually harming some of your elderly church members who feel left out and forgotten.
As you work to promote your church, be sure to include photos of senior adults on your church website, in your print material, and in any advertisements. This will help portray your church as a place where senior adults are welcomed. Also, be sure to know where senior adults are, and meet them there. For example, most senior adults spend some amount of time in doctors’ offices so consider placing ads in local magazines that may be in those offices. Lastly, make sure your church website is built with them in mind, too. For more on this, check out 3 Reasons Senior Adults Aren’t Visiting Your Church Website.
5. Reach Out and Meet Needs
Finally, in order to serve your elderly church members, create ministries at your church designed to reach out and meet needs. A nursing home ministry and a homebound ministry are two excellent places to start.
According to the elderly care ministry, 60 percent of nursing home residents never have a single visitor. This should be a wake-up call for churches. Work to create a nursing home ministry in which members visit nursing homes on a regular basis. Oftentimes, just sitting and visiting with the residents there goes a long way.
When it comes to creating a homebound ministry, find people who can help these members with chores around the house. This may include things like yard work, cleaning, cooking, and even just picking up groceries.
Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas to get started in serving elderly members at your church. If you’re wanting to jump into live streaming, be sure to check out ShareFaith live streaming. You can try it free today! Learn more here.