How Will You Adapt to the Decline in Senior Adult Ministries?

By Michael C. Mack

Studies point to a steep decline in senior adult ministries in churches. “As the large baby boomer generation moves into their older years,” says Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay, “they will resist any suggestion that they are senior adults, no matter how senior they may be.”

05_BP_sr-couples_JNChurches must be prepared to adapt to this new reality. If they continue to minister to senior adults as they always have, says Rainer, they are headed for failure.

In February we asked Best Practices readers, both in print and in our Facebook group (, “What are you doing or will you do to buck this trend and keep your ministry to older adults healthy and growing?”

Seventeen percent responded “Nothing. We’ll keep going as we have.” Another 17 percent said they would “stop doing senior adult ministry. It’s come to its natural end.” The rest responded “other.”

One person said, “Ours is growing, and we anticipate forming multiple small groups rather than keeping a large one.”

Another responded, “We are asking our [seniors] what they want, what their passions are, and how they see themselves being used for the kingdom. We are working to provide simple ideas for them to serve, both in the church and in the community. We don’t create ministries; we have affinity-based life groups, so we have created a senior’s group that meets weekly but focuses on how they can still serve inside and outside the church. Listening to their ideas (and not assuming we know what is best for them) is helping.”

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