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The Open Door

 

You have an outstanding opportunity to impact Senior Adult ministry in the Georgia Baptist Convention this July. The third Sunday in July is set aside for “Senior Adult Ministries Day.” This day has been reserved among our Georgia Baptist churches for the purpose of celebrating our senior adults.

If you do not have a senior adult ministry in your church, I would encourage you to think seriously about developing one. A number of our churches provide monthly meetings, senior choirs, trips for seniors, mission opportunities, and a host of other events. The Discipleship and Family Ministries work in our Convention provides leadership for senior adult ministry among our churches. I am so grateful for this ministry area in our Convention and for all that has been done to celebrate the life and ministry of our senior adults.

In the 1950’s Georgia Baptists realized the importance of working together to meet the needs of senior adults by providing a safe and secure place to live within a distinctively Christian environment. As a result of this commitment by the Convention, Baptist Village Retirement Communities and Baptist Retirement Communities of Georgia were established.

On July 15, Georgia Baptists will have an opportunity to give a “Senior Adult Ministries Day Offering” that will be shared equally between Baptist Village and Baptist Retirement Communities. These two ministries are home to nearly 1,000 seniors at every level of need. Under the shelter of these ministries, seniors are secure in knowing they are with family, the Georgia Baptist family.

Baptist Village Retirement Communities, led by Delos L. Sharpton, provides housing and health care for seniors. Baptist Village offers independent living in Waycross and Macon, assisted living in Waycross, Macon, and Lake Park, and skilled nursing care in Waycross. Baptist Retirement Communities of Georgia, led by Laura Willis, offers independent living and assisted living in Decatur and Palmetto. Both of these ministries allow seniors to live in a distinctly Christian community in peace and security.

Dr. Page Kelley, an Old Testament professor at Southern Seminary while I was a student there, conversed with me on one occasion about the meaning of the commandment to honor mother and father.

He informed me in that discussion that there was a problem in Israel, not so much with young children failing to honor their mothers and fathers as it was with older adult children failing to honor their aging mothers and fathers. Dr. Kelly said that this commandment had special meaning to adult children with regard to providing for the senior adults in their community. We have the responsibility and, indeed, the obligation to care for our senior adults.

We are told that as the baby boomer generation moves into their senior years, there will be an explosion of 78 million additional senior adults. This will have a major impact on society, especially health care. Because of this reality, Georgia Baptists need to place renewed emphasis upon providing for our mothers and fathers in their senior years. Providing housing and health care for seniors provides a witness for residents within our facilities to know and trust Christ.

Recently a woman in her eighties accepted Christ at Baptist Village in Waycross. If this were the only salvation that had ever taken place at our facilities, it would be sufficient to cause us to rejoice in supporting these outstanding ministries. It is not the only salvation that has taken place and there will be many others who will come to faith in Jesus Christ because Georgia Baptists care enough to provide for our senior adults.

I want to ask you to prayerfully consider giving generously to the “Senior Adult Ministries Day Offering” in your church on July 15. We will see that your contribution goes directly to benefit these ministries. We would do well to remember that those who came before us took good care of us; now it is our turn.