Old: What Does This Mean?
“Old begins the day you are born” is a phrase learned from the Lutheran Older Adult Retreat that happened earlier in October. “It’s always ‘How old is she?’ They never ask how young [a baby] is, “ explains Rev. David Meggers, Associate Pastor for Adult Ministries at Concordia, Kirkwood. Many in the Missouri District are blessed to have senior citizens sitting in the pews on Sunday morning. But what are some key ways to engage and reach older adults?
While Pastor Meggers serves as a spiritual resource, he explains that the key for senior ministry at Concordia, Kirkwood is that it’s member driven, led, and resourced.
One of the ways that Concordia builds community is through their monthly “Lunch N’ Learn” programs. What started as gathering with bagged lunches has grown into an event with themes and a service element. For example in October, an Oktoberfest will happen while November will host a speaker from the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces, plus a Christmas party in December. Service elements include an in-gathering for a hospice center and gathering needed items for veterans.
Something that’s very important to note about senior ministry, though, is that there isn’t just “one program” that will serve everyone. Older adults are a varied and diverse group. Anyone from their upper 50s to beyond their 90s is considered an “older adult”. This means that there are people at very different phases of life. There are people retired and still working, those with mobility problems and those running marathons, some with spouses and others without, there are those who aren’t yet grandparents to even those who have taken on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren.
“One of the things that I’m always trying to make myself aware of is that it’s always a shifting demographic,” notes Meggers. “Everybody is getting older. And everybody is going through these different seasons and transitions in life. So the question always comes back to, how will we continue to care for one another, be the church for one another, as we go through whatever seasons of life we’re going through.”