What Is a Senior?

The urgent need for intergenerational ministry

by Ed Clements

What Is a Senior?

Many seniors have spent their whole lives serving, giving, leading, and helping others to grow. They have incredible life experience, wisdom and insights that following generations need to hear—and they have earned the right to be heard.

I want to say to seniors, “Please—do not go into 

What Is a Senior?

retirement. You are needed!” Moses never retired. Abraham was called into active ministry when he was 75. Naomi started her greatest ministry as a widow with a newly widowed Moabite daughter-in-law in tow—and look how that turned out.

So how about you? Are you thinking, Well, I’m no Moses or Naomi; I’m just me. What can I do? Have you ever considered being an intergenerational mentor?

What Is a Senior?

According to the 2011 Canadian census, there were 1,527,845 lone-parent families in Canada in 2011.[1] Many of these parents would love to have someone help them. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV © 1984) admonishes parents to “Train a child in the way he should go,” and there are many parents who would appreciate help in doing that. Just be available once a month for a talk or to help them navigate through a challenging situation.

What Is a Senior?

Your church is the best place to start. Perhaps the children’s pastor or youth pastor could best advise how you can help. You may have grandchildren who are grown or have moved away. Make yourself available to a new generation of grandchildren. Make a call to your young adults pastor. Many single people are the only Christian in their family. Imagine being a new Christian and needing a voice of wisdom. You could be a listening ear and an open heart to help them navigate through a season of change. You could also talk to your pastor and offer to pray for special needs. Help to lighten their load by being someone they can call on to intercede for others. All young people need to know they belong, and having a grandparent figure in their lives might be the very thing that helps them grow in their faith.

“You have spent a lifetime gaining experience and wisdom. It’s time to get out there and share it.”

What Is a Senior?

My grandmother was awesome. She had the red hair in my family, and I adored her. When things didn’t make sense, she was the one I would talk to. I knew she had her share of difficulties. She had grown up on a farm and, due to a threshing machine accident, her left hand was paralyzed. She had to learn to write with her other hand. I watched her peel potatoes with that paralyzed hand, so it was obvious she had learned to overcome challenges. Since she had not been able to help out on her parents’ farm and her aunt and uncle didn’t have any children, they took her in. When she was grown, she became a kindergarten teacher and later worked at the Laura Secord factory. She had lots of stories, many of which were about chocolate. I could sit and listen to her for hours. Years later, after I became a Christian as a young adult, I also found out that she had prayed for me.

What Is a Senior?

You, too, have a life story about God’s faithfulness, overcoming obstacles, and perseverance that is worth hearing. Storytelling is a wonderful contribution to make to any age group, whether it is your own story or someone else’s.

And, as you have likely heard many times before, you can pray. You may not feel like a prayer warrior or intercessor, but the “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). Your prayers do count.

You can also give of your time. Find out from your pastor if there is someone in the church community who needs an encouraging phone call or, if you can, go and help with visitation. These points of contact mean so much to people who are isolated. Some feel as though no one understands what they are going through. Just reaching out can make all the difference to someone who feels alone.

What Is a Senior?Volunteer your time. Maybe there is a long-term care home near you or an adult day program that needs volunteers. Maybe you could offer one to two hours a week just to sit and chat with someone or help at their mealtimes. Training is free and you will open up a whole new world of ministry. Each season of life offers new opportunities. Use your experiences to enrich the life of someone else. You have spent a lifetime gaining experience and wisdom. It’s time to get out there and share it.

So what is a senior? He or she is a valuable child of God—someone who doesn’t stop doing what the Lord has gifted them to do. They keep on serving in each season of life.

Please don’t hide your light under a bushel. Offer yourself to the Lord and see which doors He flings open for you.

Believe me, your life will be enriched.

[1] http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil54a-eng.htm.

What Is a Senior? What Is a Senior?


Ed Clements has been a chaplain and is currently a pastor to seniors at Church on the Queensway. He still has some red hair left. This article appeared in the March/April 2014 issue of testimony, a bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2014 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photos © istockphoto.com.

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