The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Get ready they're coming

Who’s coming? The aging baby boomers. This year they turn 60—at the rate of 11,000 every day. By 2011 the first wave of baby boomers will be turning 65. Are we ready for them in the life of the church?

Much has been written about this generation, born between 1946 and 1964. They have brought dramatic changes to U.S. culture, communities and churches. Entering their retirement years, they won’t mimic today’s retiree. Many haven’t been members of the church. What does that mean for the church? Will we be ready?

I’m puzzled to see so many churches failing to give their older adults a vision of ministry big enough to engage them. To be sure, many older adults have retired from their daily occupations. Are we helping them to not retire from life in God’s kingdom? God’s call isn’t age-specific.

As I step into my 80th year, I dream about the day when:

• More and more congregations help older adults live their baptismal covenant as active participants in God’s kingdom.

• Congregations, in word and practice, show that older adult ministry is about building and sharing faith and is intentional, inclusive, adequately staffed and resourceful.

• Congregations have a high priority for evangelism among older adults.

• Congregations don’t leave intergenerational ministry to chance.

• More Christian older adults seek to answer the questions, “What should I be doing with this amazing gift of extended life?” and “How can I make a significant difference in the lives of others by what I say and do?” In short, “Hey, God! What about these extra years?”

I pray this becomes reality in the 21st-century church. Some resources are available to help. Church Resources offers an older-adult ministry workshop for any Lutheran judicatory and provides a senior ministry inventory that can be beneficial for any congregation. The inventory is available to congregations and helps assess older adult needs. It assists congregations to plan their nurture, outreach, service and support ministries. Contact Church Resources at 714-846-7507 or through its Web site.

The Association of Lutheran Older Adults, affiliated with the ELCA and recognized as a social ministry organization of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, also encourages senior ministry and involvement from local to global.

This week's front page features:

'We have to take the church to them': When ships come into port, chaplains are there to greet the crews. (Photo at right.)

Dreams can come true: A family and a congregation assist with education for prisoners' children.

A Q&A with Sheila Shyamprasad: Lutheran World Federation works to prevent HIV/AIDS.

A missionary for today: 300 years of Protestant mission in India still empowers people.

Also: 2007 health-care rates to increase nearly 7 percent.

Also: Hanson: Situation calls for courage.

Also: Self-control in the Spirit.

Discuss 300 years of mission in India:

Rolf Wangberg (right), bishop of the Northwestern Minnesota Synod, was among the ELCA delegation that traveled to India to celebrate 300 years of Protestant mission.

Wangberg will lead a discussion about Lutheranism in India (and global mission in general) today through Oct. 3.

Consider reading Andrea S. Pohlmann's article "A missionary for today" and the delegation's blog before joining the discussion.

This week on our blog:

Andrea Pohlmann blogs about a $2,680 purse.

Elizabeth Hunter writes about a gardener's lessons for life.

Amber Leberman blogs about a colleague's trip to document the lives of internally displaced people in Uganda.

Michael Watson blogs about a different time and place.

Sonia Solomonson writes about spending a week with her newest grandchild.

Kathy Kastilahn (right) blogs about her conversation with Shannon Jung about the vulnerability of our food supply.

New free resources:

Check out our new “church resources” page, where you’ll find our "Lutheranism 101" series available for download. Consider using it in your new-member or confirmation classes. It’s free!

You’ll also find out how you can order free contribution envelopes, bulletin inserts and promotional materials to use in your congregation.

Check out our church resources > > >

Take our 2007 topics survey:

Help decide the topics for The Lutheran’s cover stories in 2007 by taking our survey. Last year readers like you decided what we’d cover this year.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us which 10 topics you’re most interested to read about in The Lutheran. The survey deadline is Oct. 15, and results will appear in the January issue.

Take the survey > > >

Subscribe to The Lutheran magazine:

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This is an Associated Church Press award-winning e-newsletter.


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