Hearing well is fundamental to understanding and communication. When this particular sense is impaired we find ways to compensate by amplifying, gesturing or notating. Humans are driven to convey a message.
For decades, Richard and I have evangelistically expressed our core conviction that long life is a gift from God, not to be wasted, but to be re-invested. We’ve written a book (another one in progress), as well as articles, curriculum, blogs, and emails. We’ve spoken in groups both large and small, talked on the radio, and preached from the pulpit. We’ve amplified, gestured and notated. We yearn for older adults to be respected and not marginalized. We want Boomers to live out their God-given talents, skills and passions and reach out to heal a hurting world. As our ministry mission states, we seek to unleash the power of age in lives, churches and communities. The message seems to fall on deaf ears. Few want to acknowledge they are aging; fewer still aspire to embrace the journey for all of its worth.
One indicator of a generation being “hearing impaired” is this month’s announcement that More Living will no longer be published. The state-of-the art magazine produced by Lifeway Resources was targeted to Christian Boomers. Filled with helpful articles that inspired personal spiritual growth, it was contemporary, appealing and practical. But its message fell on impaired ears and failed due to “lack of readership.” I’m particularly sad because I had the privilege to have several articles published in this periodical.
With disturbing regularity, we hear of churches eliminating their older adult ministries. Few denominations see them as strategic. Even this week I learned that our local Gospel Mission has discontinued specific outreach to seniors. In light of the demographics and trends that indicate 50% of our population will be over the age of 50 by the end of this decade, it seems illogical to eradicate ministry with this segment of the population.
I came close to giving up this week. Feeling it was futile to try communicating to impaired (or at least stubborn) ears, I was ready to throw in the towel. But God has called me to convey a message to this generation. So, I guess I’ll gesture, write more – and speak a little louder.
Stay tuned. You haven’t heard the last from us.
written by Leona Bergstrom, Director, Re-Ignite