Ministering to Golden–agers

Ministering to Golden–agers


“We got this!” Famous words spoken by my energetic, bold, feisty and opinionated golden–agers. We meet weekly and every time it’s different. Some days they are quiet and talk in whispering tones. This usually means something is brewing amongst them. Other times they are loud and boisterous while updating me on important facts for the week. Sometimes they are somber and ask challenging questions about their personal lives or current events. However, for the most part, if chairs need to be moved, the room reorganized, games put out, or tables set up, their famous words are, “Captain, we got this” in a very bold and maternal tone. I hear them loud and clear. “We got this” means we are independent, strong, fit, bright and capable. “We got this” means we are free, helpful and available.

However, despite “We got this,” I can see struggles, frailty, indifference, self–loathing, and loneliness that may come with the challenges of getting older. During these unsettling times the golden–agers must be reminded that “God’s got this.”

The words of Psalm 92: 12–15 hang on the door in the fellowship hall where our golden–agers meet:

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him’” (Psalm 92:12–15  NIV).

Verse 14 is key for our seniors: “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green proclaiming the Lord is upright.”

While facing the challenges of getting older, health issues, loss of longtime friends, feelings of uselessness due to forced retirement, how can our golden–agers stay fresh and green? How can they continue in the spirit of “We got this?” How can we assist them in maintaining their energy, strength and life of “We got this?”

Besides quilting gatherings, painting groups and mall outings there are four practical ways we can keep our golden–agers fresh and green:

  • Our golden-agers must hear and receive the Gospel. We cannot assume that they have a personal relationship with Jesus. Many seniors attend church religiously but do not have a personal relationship with Christ. This is seen through their attitudes and conversations. I’ve heard over and over from seniors, “I am not sure if I will make it to heaven or can anyone really be sure.” We must share this assurance through conversation. In order for the golden–agers to proclaim the Lord is upright and He is our rock there must be an assurance of a personal connection with Christ. Their phrase, “We got this,” should also mean we have a relationship with Christ. We have the assurance that we are saved by God’s grace and our names are written in the book of life.
  • We must hear them. It takes some patience to listen to their stories from years ago, but I’ve heard stories regarding old sock–hop dances in school, the years of segregation, early marriages and great loss. It takes good listening skills to hear what is not said. We must be able to hear that they are lonely at home and offer an opportunity to visit. We must hear feelings of uselessness and present an occasion for volunteering. We must hear their constant chatter and open up conversations about God’s goodness towards them. We must create their “We got this” moment through times of service, testimonies and personal interactions.
  • They must hear from us. The motive behind “We got this” is their way of soliciting a huge “thank you” from the rest of us. The most important observation I noticed from golden–agers is a need to feel appreciated. They crave pleasant words over gifts. Words of encouragement are a must for them to thrive and bear much fruit. Words such as “thank you, you looking mighty fine, how wonderful, God loves you and we love you” brighten their countenance.
  • Another way of hearing from us is through one–on–one prayer times. I witnessed what one–on–one prayer can do for a golden–ager. The act of praying out loud on their behalf breaks down walls in their souls. When they hear us petitioning God on their behalf, it leads them to connect with God in a real way and strengthens their faith.

In conclusion, it is a joy, challenge and learning experience ministering to golden–agers. In spite of the challenges of getting older they are resilient, feisty and provide life lessons for us. Golden–agers who have a personal relationship with Jesus, a place to serve, and great company can really speak with assurance that “We got this” because “God’s got this.”