Dec 11, 2007

Why Senior Adult Ministry Is Just Student Ministry on Metamucial

Yesterday I had the opportunity to lead our Forerunners group at Westwood on a trip to see the Christmas lights at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA. Forerunners is a ministry for groups age 55+, what most people call senior adults.

Let me make it clear that I love senior adults. One of the lessons I learned quickly in church work was to make friends with senior adults. They can be a your best friends or your worst nightmare. I have found out that if the senior adults are your friends, you will never be hungry. Grandmas always know how to cook stuff a whole lot better than anyone else. It's probably all the butter they use in everything. They also expect that every young minister at their church is not getting enough to eat, so they always tell you to get more. In fact they get mad if you don't.

My first foray into the world of senior adults was at my first church in Krotz Springs, LA. It was there I had the privlege to come across "the quilting ladies". These ladies got together every Monday to sew together some of the most awesome quilts. They also had a great lunch and wanted to make sure a poor, single seminary student didn't starve on their watch. There was always crawfish etouffee, chicken spaghetti, and crawfish fettuccine. Not only did the quilting ladies do their part to expand my waistline, but I also go to meet Granny and Papa Muse. Every Sunday I had a plate of homemade chicken n' dumplings waiting with my name on it.

My life in Greenwood, MS was personally blessed by my acquaintance with a crotchity old man named Waters Hicks. Mr. Hicks was already well into his 80's by the time I met him. He had suffered from polio most of his life and had to use crutches to get around. However, even in his 80's he still moved himself on those crutches and drove his car all around town. Most every week my office phone would ring and Mr. Hicks would say, "Hey boy! I'm coming to get you for lunch. Be there in 10 minutes." Mr. Hicks would pull up to the back of the church and honk his horn to announce his arrival. He would then inform me of where we were going for lunch - not ask me - inform me. We would go to KFC and he would give me a $10 bill and say "Get 2 pot pies, a coke, and whatever you want to drink." Didn't matter if I wanted a 3 piece dinner, I got a pot pie. However, every lunch was filled with joy and laughter. Mr. Hicks loved his church, his bride of 50+ years, and the Atlanta Braves. I still remember the Sunday I got the call he died and how it was one of the few times I remember crying in recent years.

Fast forward to modern-day. Now I am in charge of ministering to the senior adults at Westwood. I get the joy and privilege to work alongside of these dear saints who have loved God for so many years. After working with students for 15 years I have found out that senior adult ministry and youth ministry are very similar. Senior adult ministry is basically youth ministry

Students have to take Ritalin on the trip, Seniors have to take Lipitor
Student Ministry is pizza and tacos, Seniors is Ryan's and catfish
Students are spending their parents money, Seniors are spending their children's inheritence
If you tell students you are leaving at 11:00, 90% of them will show up at 11:00 and you will leave at 11:30.
If you tell seniors you are leaving at 11:00, 90% of them will show up at 10:30 and expect you to leave by 10:55.
No matter what the age, bathroom stops will take at least a half hour.
No matter what the age, you will have to track down someone who wanted to go back and buy something when it's time to load up the bus.
Students like to listen to The Black Eyed Peas, Seniors like to listen to the Gaithers, I don't like listening to either.
Finally, no matter which group you are hanging out with they will make you feel young.


Mimi said...

When you were young, I remember having many hopes and desires for you...."One day he will have is own Blog" was not one of them, but I'm glad you do and I enjoy reading your comments. Love you Lots! Mom
By the way, what does Blog mean anyway.

david said...

Haines, you're the master