People frequently say, "Its a young person's world" and it many ways it is. Youth culture dominates our world and especially the entertainment industry. Yet, the largest and fastest growing demographic in many parts of our world is the elderly. With life expectancy continuing to grow, we will continue to see more and more seniors as part of our communities.
For the church, I believe that God's desire is for 'young and old' to partner together in relationships and kingdom purposes (see Acts 2:17). Too often churches merely mimic the culture by constantly segregating people into different age groups – kids, youth, young adults, married and seniors. Although there are some benefits in congregating with people who are at a similar stage of life, in doing so we can miss the benefits of inter-generational relationships. There are great benefits when adults minister to children and youth. If we can merge the enthusiasm of the young with the wisdom of the aged, what a powerful force the church can be.
Seniors provide a ready-made demographic of people for us to reach out to. I pray that the church around the world will give more prayer and thought to what we can do to share God's good news with elderly people – many who are lonely and isolated.
Yes, let's be relevant to and reaching out to the next generation … but let's not forget the elderly!
P.S. Click here for a good article by Tony Campolo on church staffing and the elderly.