Over the last few months, the phrase “OK Boomer” and “OK Millennial” has been used endlessly on TV, the news, on social media, memes, and GIFs at a nauseating rate.
It’s like the Scottish novelist Margaret Oliphant could predict the future when she wrote, “I suppose every generation has a conceit of itself which elevates it, in its own opinion, above that which comes after it.”
Generational gaps are nothing new. The young always look at the older with frustration and disillusion. The older always look at the younger with confusion and annoyance.
The church is no exception. Most churches fit into one of three categories: 1) a church is composed of mostly young people; 2) a church is composed of mostly older people; 3) an intergenerational congregation that successfully blends a broad age demographic.
The third category is far less common and far more challenging to achieve. Often churches hire either a young or older pastor to accomplish either of the first two categories. In turn, the church creates ministries exclusively either for the young or the older, which leaves the opposite end of the age spectrum wondering, “What’s in it for me?”
For the last 18 months, UBC has been creating opportunities and restructured personnel to garner a younger demographic: The Family Tree Café expanded to four days a week; the Soccer Academy was established; we promoted the Children’s Director to Minister of Children and Young Families; two new hybrid roles were created to give segmented leadership to youth, college, and young adults, and the MDO is expanding.
The good news is that our children, youth, and young adult ministries are growing.
However, we are beginning to put our energy and leadership behind our senior adult population. Over the coming months, you will start to see an emphasis on care, community, and commissioning of our older members.
On care, we are working to improve our visitation system led by the deacons and pastoral staff. We are working to enhance how our Sunday Spiritual Formation groups connect with our members, especially those facing medical setbacks.
On community, we are working to enhance the monthly third Tuesday luncheon by creating exciting programs with an emphasis on inviting non-members. Also, we are also seeking to create another monthly opportunity to bolster the relationships between our seniors, as well as create attractive opportunities for new guests to our faith community.
On commissioning, we are working to create new opportunities for our senior adults to see their value and feel empowered to share their best selves with UBC. Specifically, we are developing a new mentoring system that connects senior adults with younger members.
As Holly Catterton Allen put it, “Intergenerational ministry occurs when a congregation intentionally combines the generations together in mutual serving, sharing, or learning within the core activities of the church in order to live out being the body of Christ to each other and the greater community.”
We invite you to pray for these new developments, to be open and honest with the church leadership as we develop our senior adult ministry, and to have grace as we learn together. Finally, we invite you to think of yourself as the primary tool of outreach to UBC by being passionate about what we are doing and taking the initiative to invite new faces to these senior adult opportunities.