One of the perpetual characteristics of society is the gap between children, youth, and senior adults. Unfortunately, that chasm also exists within the church.
Senior adults have a lot to offer the younger generation, and vice versa, and church is one of the best settings for interaction to take place. Positive interaction can help overcome the stereotypes of seniors as “old and grumpy” and children as “undisciplined and destructive.”
Here are some ways for teachers to plug in older adults to help narrow the generation gap.
- Helping Hands
Senior volunteers can provide assistance with weekly routines, freeing teachers to focus on the children and the lesson goal. They can serve as classroom greeters, record attendance and send cards, and help with crafts or special events.
- Guest Speakers
Because of their vast life experiences and Christian walk, older adults can share powerful illustrations of God at work in their lives. Consider using them for testimonies of healing, divine provision, salvation, miracles, and countless other topics.
- Living Bible Characters
Lessons can come alive by having costumed Bible characters visit the class. Have seniors tell the story from a first-person “I was there” perspective
to give an eye-witness account. Suggest that they respond to the children only as that character would.
Some children have little contact with their actual grandparents due to location, death, or divorce. These students can greatly benefit from the love, attention, and instruction of a “fill-in” grandparent. Alternately, children may be able to “adopt” a shut-in or isolated adult and bless them with special cards, crafts, and visits.
- Prayer Partners
Senior adults can be powerful prayer warriors. They will eagerly spend time in prayer for the spiritual development of young lives that will one day fill positions of service and responsibility. Share needs with them so they may pray specifically for you, your ministry, and individual children.
Don’t overlook an opportunity to help develop a mutual appreciation between those who have lived a rich Christian life and those just beginning their walk.