The holidays can be the most joyful time of the year for some and the most painful time of the year for others. For many people in churches and community, the holidays bring a lot of bittersweet feelings as happy memories mix with the reality of loss. This can be mostly widespread among older church members because most of them have already lost loved ones as they have grown older. So, how can we go about including older adults this holiday season? Or how can you get more involved with the younger ones?
Inclusion Not Seclusion
Local churches are to serve as a place of family, community and inclusion where everyone can feel involved, cared for, and appreciated. Unfortunately, this often does not happen with the older population in some churches. Many activities are geared toward the young people, and let’s face it, you need some fairly young people to keep up with those kiddos. Although a church’s children’s ministry does often need younger workers on a full time basis, this doesn’t mean that older members of the church family cannot be involved.
Ideas for Involvement
What about inviting a different individual once or twice a month just to assist for one class? This gives them involvement without getting them overwhelmed with the stress of an ongoing class. When the church is doing a special activity like an outing or a special gathering of some kind, invite the older members to join the fun. Many of them will welcome the opportunity and may make a valuable contribution in ways you don’t expect.
Consider a “Back in My Day” Bible study. Start by taking questions from kids and teenagers about how life was when they were a child or young person. There are lots of great ways to include older members in the kid’s ministry in a way that is not stressful, but rather inclusive and loving. Depending who’s reading this blog, take some time this holiday season to consider how you might involve yourself or how you might get those involved. Include all of the precious members of your community more deliberately.
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