“Reaching 50-year-olds is the same thing that reaches 24-year-olds - invite them to come and see. If you personally know the King, then compel them to come in,” said Todd Wagner, senior pastor of Watermark Church in Dallas, at the National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 7.
He continued, “The mark that is going to reach all people of every generation is love. Without love, nothing matters.”
More than 117 church leaders and volunteers from 58 churches and organizations learned skills and techniques to engage the boomer generation in ministry at the fifth annual National Boomer Ministry Conference on Sept. 6-8 at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.
Hosted by Texas Baptists Great Commission Team, this unique conference is designed to equip pastors, ministers and volunteers working with boomer ministries by providing resources, tools, encouragement and ideas.
Keith Lowry, Texas Baptists adult discipleship specialist, said, “76 million baby boomers have been turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day since 2011, which will continue until 2029. And this wave of aging boomers are completely different than the generations which came before. We started this conference to help churches become aware of how they will need to make changes to their legacy senior adult ministries if they are going to be effective at reaching and ministering to these baby boomers.”
This year, participants heard from five keynote speakers - Wagner; Dennis Swanberg, pastor-turned-comedian; Dr. Amy Hanson, speaker, writer and consultant; Steve Stroope, senior pastor of Lakepointe Church in Rockwall; and Ron Edmondson, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. There were an additional 21 breakout session speakers, as well as 24 vendors involved in the conference.
Using what is true and false about the baby boomer generation, Hanson spoke on building a baby boomer ministry from scratch and how to effectively carry out that ministry.
Stroope focused on reaching every generation for Christ by obediently implementing strategic church essentials and providing excellent worship, small groups and life stage ministries. He said, “Everyone has a tendency to emphasize evangelism or discipleship. But the Great Commission calls us to both.”
Edmonson shared similar sentiments as he discussed his experiences in reviving the church and baby boomer ministries. He said, “You have to lead the church to think outside its walls and back into the community. The way we do church today would have never worked 50 years ago.” Edmonson implored churches to be careful not to neglect the past while building for the future and rediscovering effective ministry.
Participants also had the chance to attend breakout sessions on topics including “Parents of Prodigals,” “Dementia: The Elephant in our Sanctuaries” and “Help me Help My Aging Parents.”
This year, the boomer conference had their first international participants from Canada and Australia. At least 14 other states in the U.S. were represented, with many from Texas.
Taken directly from the conference evaluations, Lowry found that participants were encouraged by the keynote and breakout speakers’ knowledge and passion, and equipped with practical information as well as new resources to help make a difference in their boomer ministries.
Save the date for the 2018 National Boomer Ministry Conference, taking place Sept. 5-7 at First Baptist Church of San Antonio. Visit http://texasbaptists.org/boomer for more information.