Rev. Kenneth Holdorf is Director of Senior Adult Ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, Texas.
The question is, “What’s the Good News for older adults?” and the answer is, “There’s plenty of Good News for older adults.” That answer, however, does not deny or disregard the issues and challenges of older adults: health and financial issues; loneliness; depression; loss of friends, spouses, work and mobility; safety and security concerns; worries about family; declining moral values; ageism expressed in our culture; death and dying issues; and finding value and significance in their lives.
The Good News for older adults has been around for a long time and will continue into the future. From a Christian perspective there is much reason to celebrate older age and to discover that there is, indeed, Good News for older adults.
In order to provide a summary of Good News for older adults, let’s use an acrostic approach to the word “Seniors”—S. E. N. I. O. R. S. I’m using the word “Seniors” rather than older adults since I believe “Seniors” provides a better acrostic in summarizing all of the Good News for older adults. Bible passages are referenced to indicate that the Good News for older adults comes from God’s Word. There’s plenty of Good News which we need to discover, develop, and put into practice. So what’s the Good News
Spiritual refers to all of the Good News for older adults in the area of their Spiritual Life. Here is a summary of the Good News (God News) for older adults:
• Older adults are created by God in a high position in His created order.
• Older adults are created by God for a purpose.
• Older adults have the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of God’s Son,
• Older adults are as important and significant as any other human being of any age.
• Older adults are blessed by God through His Holy Spirit with special gifts to serve in
• Older adults are given a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
• Older adults are precious agents of God who are to leave a legacy of faith, hope and love.
(Texts to consider: Isaiah 46:4; John 3:4;
2 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Peter 1:5-11.)
We might summarize the letter ‘S’ by saying that the Good News is: God never “discounts” older adults as less valuable or less significant in His love and care for them as long as they have breath.
Enlightenment is associated with the receiving and giving of intellectual insight and wisdom. The Good News is: God has created human beings with the tremendous gift of the mind. The human brain is capable of learning throughout the years of older adult life. That Good News means that older adults can continue to learn, grow, adapt, and accomplish many things through various means of enlightenment and growth. Research indicates that the brain can retain and store a lot of information which we call long-term memory. Short-term memory does not disappear in older adults; it may slow down a little. The brain of the older adult does not stop thinking and has an ability to remember growth experiences and teach them to others. Here are several ways older adults engage in Enlightenment throughout their aging process: reading, playing board and card games, attending workshops and seminars, attending academic classes, taking educational trips, working crossword puzzles, and continuing to pursue the development of a person’s passions and purposes for living
(Texts to consider: Job 12:12; Acts 2:17; Ephesians 3:14-21; Colossians 1:9-14.)
We might summarize the letter “E” with the Good News (God News) that God has gifted human beings with minds that can be used as wise disciples to continue to learn and
For nutrition and health, the Good News is that in most countries of the world life expectancy continues to rise. Our God is not just interested in us living more years on this earth, but He is greatly interested in us living in a right relationship with Him now and on into eternity. The Good News is that God provides humans with nutritional resources for the body that enable people to live healthier lives to enhance ways and means to be more effective servants of the Lord while here on earth. So, God would guide and direct us to a wellness of living by providing nutritional foods, medicines, healthcare-givers, various support groups, exercise needs, and making changes to adapt to the aging process. As a result, we see God at work in older adult lives through these types of healthy community support:
• The family
• Assisted Living and retirement facilities
• Support groups
• Exercise at home or at fitness centers
• Stephen Ministry and Parish Nurse Directors
• Monitoring the use of medicines
• A mindset of receiving care
• Regular health checkups
• Living with a healthy sense of purpose
• Safety issues related to reducing falls
(Texts to consider: 3 John 1:2-4; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.)
We could summarize by saying that God has created human beings as a special part of His creation, has made provisions for our bodily needs, and provides ways and means for us to take care of our bodies as reflections of His creation and as vehicles to serve others.
In intergenerational ministry there is plenty of Good News for older adults because God has not disconnected older adults from the total community of believers. God’s design is to have the Body of Christ made up of all ages which have significant parts to play in the total ministry of the Christian Church. Scripture provides many references to intergenerational relationships, contacts, and roles to carry out. There is to be no separation of ages. That’s why healthy congregations provide a ministry that includes different generations worshiping together, playing together, studying and learning together, eating together, talking together, praying together and serving together, and offering grandparenting seminars. Congregations should be models of intergenerational ministries. Older adults are to receive the Good News from God and leave a legacy of faith, hope and love.
(Texts to consider: Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 148:12-13; 2 Timothy 1:5.)
We could summarize by saying that the Good News (God news) for older adults is that God has a significant plan for their partnership in the life and ministry of the Christian community we call the Church.
Outreach flows from the previous letter, I – Intergenerational Ministry. The Good News is that God has designed all believers of all ages to be involved in the outreach ministry of making disciples. The Great Commission includes participation by older adults. The Good News for older adults is that God’s Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh—people of all ages, including older adults. Older adults have unique opportunities to carry out the outreach ministry in their families, in the relationships with friends, co-workers, neighbors, and in their daily contacts with other people. A healthy congregation will find practical ways for older adults to be trained and equipped for outreach, affirm their significance, and recognize how God is at work in their lives.
(Texts to consider: Psalm 71:18; Psalm 71:5-9; Matthew 28:18-20.)
We can summarize the ‘O’ by saying that God calls older adults to share their faith in Jesus in words and actions as they are used by the power of the Holy Spirit to draw people to God’s saving grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus
R Recreation and Fellowship
The Good News is God does not want the ‘R’ to stand for “retired. ” God provides a wide variety of ways for older adults to experience a greater degree of health and wellness through recreation and fellowship. Here is a brief list of opportunities for recreation and fellowship that serve as God’s blessings: hobbies, support groups, short day trips, longer travel trips, eat-outs with others, community senior centers, game days/nights, reunions, a variety of clubs, community events, and the list goes on.
(Texts to consider: Hebrews 10:24-25; 2 Corinthians 12:4-29.)
We can summarize this letter ‘R’ by realizing that recreation and fellowship are blessings from God in providing older adults with a sense of support, significance, purpose, joy, and a celebration of wellness of body, mind, and spirit
The Good News is that being a servant is a fundamental attribute of God as He demonstrated His serving attitude by sending His Son Jesus to be a servant. Jesus came to this earth not to be served but to be a servant. The Good News is that God calls people to believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin and death and calls them to be servants to others. This servant role is a lifelong calling. The various ways that older adults serve the Lord may change throughout the aging process, but the role of servant remains the same regardless of age. There is a need to encourage, train, and provide older adults with opportunities to continue their serving ministry as a lifelong process. The Good News is that God creates a serving heart in the believer, provides the motivation through the power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus dwells in the life of the believer, and provides a life of purpose, significance and meaning as the believer lives in joyful service
(Texts to consider: Psalm 92:14-15; Titus 2:2-3; Philippians 4:4-9; Matthew 20:24-28.)
The acronym S.E.N.I.O.R.S. begins with S and ends with S.
• The life of older adults begins with the Spirit of the living Lord Jesus Christ, the Sacrificial Savior.
• The life of older adults is Sustained throughout life as a Servant of the Lord.
• And the life of older adults ends here on earth with the last Sigh of breath as God ushers them into the Security of
That’s Good News from beginning to end. That’s Good News (God News) for older adults!
I’d like to end this article after having listed all of the Good News (God News) for older adults. But I want to add a couple of thoughts. First, God’s Good News for older adults will continue in the future, and second, the number of older adults will continue to grow in the future.
Those are two statements that are true and sure. But there are some issues for Christian education that provide us with some very important challenges:
• How will the older adults become aware and hear the Good News from God?
• How will the Church—colleges and universities, seminaries, professors, congregations, pastors, teachers, lay leaders, educators, and additional staff positions—provide all of the necessary training for older adults to be equipped to carry out their God-given calling as older adults? And will the older adults put the Good News that God has for them into practice in their daily living, in their congregations, and in
And so we pray that the Christian Church carries out the abcs of the Good News for
• Awareness of the Good News that God provides for older adults.
• Believes that Good News with all your heart, mind, and soul.
• Commits to putting the Good News (God News) for older adults into practice.