Mona McDonald had been involved with Arizona Baptist Children’s Services and Family Ministries (ABCS) for more than a decade when she recently felt God’s call to focus on the state’s aging adult population.
“Arizona baby boomers are turning 65 at an unprecedented rate,” says Mona. That exploding demographic has unique needs, she noted. And they approach their later years differently than any previous generation.
In a word, they want connection.
That need for connection drew the attention of the ABCS team, leading them to create Pursue Life. This new Christ-centered ministry for Arizonans over 50 provides hope and care to aging adults by guiding them to live in the fullness of God’s promises in every season of life through support, community, purpose and legacy.
Two Key Needs
The ministry focuses on connecting those who have needs with those who are willing to help others. Right now the ministry serves older adults by connecting them with practical resources: Medicare enrollment, workshops in estate planning and senior safety, pastor/church/family tools, and ministry-mission opportunities, such as Pursue Life’s upcoming mission cruise to the U.S. Virgin Islands. “But as we continue to learn to care for the largest aging adult population in history, we’ve identified two key needs,” says Mona.
She explains that over-50 adults often find themselves isolated and alone, whether from the loss of a spouse, divorce, illness, children who live far away, or other limitations. Isolation keeps them from being active. Ms. Betty, for instance, fell ten years ago. She was able to go home after rehab but soon had a minor stroke, limiting her to a wheelchair. She is healthy and able to communicate but has few friendships. She would like to be a part of a community and contribute to it meaningfully.
Meanwhile, Stan, a military veteran and retired contractor in his early 70s, yearns to use his skills purposefully. After leaving the work force, he jumped from one service opportunity to another. Yet Stan lacked a clear sense of direction and experienced frustration. He gave up and now sits at home most days watching television, although he is anxious to be involved in meaningful work with purpose.
Likewise, Mark just retired from his firm as a CPA. He would like to volunteer his skills to help others but isn’t sure how to get connected. Mark could see himself helping young people develop a good plan for their future or even older adults as they make decisions about their estate.
Enter in The 210 Project
As Mona investigated how to implement Pursue Life’s multi-layered approach to full living for seniors, she discovered The 210 Project. “It was God-directed, really,” she says. Mona became familiar with the project through a combination of professional connections and online searching. “I had been researching what our plan would be in leading adults to find their purpose during this season of their lives. The 210 Project fits perfectly.”
Pursue Life’s four key areas of ministry – support, community, purpose, and legacy – line up beautifully with the 210 Project’s practical approach to strengths-based, purposeful living.
“God has a plan that is unique for each person to use their gifts, abilities, and skills,” says Mona. “We want to equip churches to help their adults to do that.” The project’s interactive step-by-step process is an ideal approach Pursue Life can use in churches across AZ that share their vision for senior adult ministry. The ministry can connect individuals to the 210 Project through Pursue Life too – folks like Betty, Stan, and Mark.
Meanwhile, Pursue Life hosts a pastor’s workshop in Phoenix on September 8 for Arizona’s faith-based, community, and parachurch organizations, which will prepare leaders for next steps in ministry to AZ 50+ adults. Pastors and leaders from across the state are expected to attend the launch.
“I see Arizonans becoming effective stewards of their time, gifts, finances, relationships and passions no matter what season of life they are in,” says Mona, explaining that the significant baby boomer demographic can be engaged and unleashed in the church and the community to make a significant impact for Christ. “With the end in mind, I see The 210 Project in partnership with Pursue Life as the catalyst that connects those willing to be used by God to those who have needs. What a beautiful picture!”
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