The One Group You Can’t Afford to Overlook When Planting a Church

The priority for most outreach efforts is to draw young families into the church, but in the midst of the shuffle let’s not forget about the Baby Boomers.

Donald Rumsfeld has written a book called Rumsfeld’s Rules. In it he notes that the most dangerous people are those who do not know what they do not know.

A while ago my wife was visiting one of our children in another state and visited a local church. She was a 67-year-old grandmother. Alone. No kids tagging along. Her observation was that she was unseen … invisible. No one greeted her or gave her any attention at all.

She was not offended by the inattention. She “gets it.” After 40 years in ministry she understand that the priority has almost always been on the young families that will build the church of the future. Back to Rumsfeld. …  You may not have known, but on January 1, 2011, the very first Baby Boomers turned 65.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Baby Boomers as those born between January 1, 1946, (I was born August of that year) and December 31, 1964. Since January 1, 2011, every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers have reached the age of 65. That’s going to keep happening every single day for the next 17 years. The total will be 70 million people. Ten-thousand is roughly the same number of babies being born each day in the U.S.

In one of Peter Wagner’s old books on church growth and planting, he mentions that 80 percent of the people who attend a new church have just recently moved to the community. If that’s still true then these old geezers who are retiring and moving to someplace warm should be up on our radar.

Several things a 65-year-old can do that a baby cannot …

1. Invite their acquaintances to a “senior friendly” church.

2. Put a check in the offering (maybe a big one).

3. Mentor a struggling young family.

4. Have more disposable time and money than the younger folks.

5. Staff organizational structure positions in your new church.

6. Teach some young pastor a thing or two.

So let’s hear it for the geezer set. Some of these folks might be the shot in the arm your church plant needs. Go get ‘em. Ten-thousand a day! Men and women for whom Jesus died having real life experience, and may know what you do not.

Phil Spry
Phil graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where his major was evangelism. He and his wife, Toni have planted eight new churches. Collective morning attendance is about 7,000 people. Today the Sprys make their home in eastern North Carolina where Phil pastors a another new church. Additionally, Phil is involved in CP consulting, coaching, and conference speaking that specializes in all aspects of new church ministry, with a special emphasis on outreach and marketing. With his Tellstart program Phil has partnered with 900 church plants in 48 U.S. States and Canada.