Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Book Review: Senior Adult Ministry in the 21st Century

Senior Adult Ministry in the 21st Century: Step-By-Step Strategies For Reaching People Over 50

I organized a “Seniors Fellowship” for our church before I read this book. But the author, Dr. David P. Gallagher, offers many creative ideas about ministering to this group. Although written for church leadership, as a layperson, I am finding the book invaluable.

Gallagher opens with a chapter describing the broad spectrum of ages and abilities that comprise today’s senior adults. He urges churches to establish a senior adult ministry since life expectancy has climbed to 75 years of age and according to the 2000 U. S. Census, there are more than 76 million Americans age 50 or older; that’s a quarter of the population.

Benefits of a senior adult ministry include reaching entire families and helping seniors face the challenges of today’s deteriorating society by applying biblical truth to the needs of this age group. Gallagher offers help to develop a mission statement and to set goals for a ministry.

This book’s reproducible charts and checklists alone would be worth the purchase price of $17.99 retail. They can to be used to evaluate the need for a ministry and then to establish and carry out the ministry. Chapters include outreach ideas and one chapter offers help to those dealing with grief. Strong on numbered lists, Gallagher includes sections such as “23 Helpful Hints for Effective Outreach,” “5 Things to Consider Before Starting a Senior Adult Ministry” and “5 Good Things Hidden in Grief.” An Appendix offers even more tips along with top web sites for senior adult issues.

Gallagher has written extensively in the field of pastoral and adult ministry. He serves at Green Lake Conference Center, Green Lake, Wisconsin, and partners with Church Growth, Inc., Monrovia, California. I liked his style of writing. The back cover purports the book to offer the nuts and bolts of senior adult ministry, and it surely delivers on that promise.

I’ve read other helpful books on senior ministry, such as The Graying of the Church, which has 96 pages. With its charts and checklists, Senior Adult Ministry in the 21st Century, published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, offers 148 pages and contributes even to the record keeping of your ministry. It’s a solid resource for any size church that wants to bless its graying population. I will be referring to this book regularly as I lead my senior adult ministry and look for creative ways to develop outreach, activities and just general ministry.