Articles on Older Adult Ministries

Finding a Vital Ministry for “Elders”

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

February 16, 2017

In his book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, Richard Rohr quotes a Native American saying: “No wise person ever wanted to be younger.” In a time and culture where looking good (almost always implying looking younger) is rampant, this statement seems counter intuitive. Yet, when examined, it speaks to a truth we often forget. Appearances or age are not accurate indications of who a person is and what she might have to offer the world. What we know, through faith and ...

Sharing the Light to Lift Blue Christmas

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

December 13, 2016

Elvis got it right—at least for a lot of people. For many different reasons, his version of “Blue Christmas,” hit and still hits, a responsive chord in many. You, no doubt, recognize the lyrics. I’ll have a blue Christmas without you. I’ll be so blue just thinking about you. Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree Won’t be the same if you’re not here with me. At this time of year, with windows and stores glistening with lights and decorations, with carols playing constantly in stores, with ...

Helping the Questioners Find Their Answers

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

November 16, 2016

There is nothing like a fall day—looking out the sliders and watching the leaves blow off the trees—to get the thoughts flowing. It seems as if the newness of spring and the warmth of summer came and went without a warning. Thoughts of all the passages of life. Thoughts of the people I have loved who have died. Thoughts of churches served and friends of yesteryear. Thoughts of sick loved ones and dear friends. Thoughts of 13 years working with and ministering to older adults. And then a specific...

Age Shouldn’t Negate Call to Serve One Another

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

October 20, 2016

I had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony for my great nephew and his fiancée this past weekend. He was not the first niece or nephew, nor the first great nephew nor great niece who have afforded me such a privilege. Indeed I will have the same privilege for my great niece in November. As weddings tend to do, I was reminded of the passage of time. After all, I met his mother the day she was born and here was her son getting married. I attended her baptism and performed her wedding ...

Living in the Now Can be a Gift

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

September 15, 2016

Alive Now, published by The Upper Room—a ministry of the United Methodist Church—is one magazine my wife, Barbara, and I enjoy. When reading it the other night I found my mind wandering from the writings themselves to the title, Alive Now. Who thought of the name?  What is its origin? Did the title decide the purpose of the magazine or did the name come first, helping to decide its direction? I have been playing with the words and discovered how many times they have come from my lips. I can’t ...

Embracing Life Fully—However It Comes

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

August 16, 2016

“Sitting full in the moment, I practiced on the God-awful difficulty of just paying attention.  It’s a contention of Heat Moon’s—believing as he does any traveler who misses the journey misses all he’s going to get—that a man becomes his attentions.” This is from a delightful book, “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon, published in 1983. The book details his observations of people and places as he travels the perimeter of the United States, always on the back roads, almost never on an ...

Concrete Acts of Love Can Help Caregivers

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

June 22, 2016

“I know I did the right thing, but I cannot stop feeling guilty for doing so.”  Some decisions are not only difficult to make, they are also heartbreaking to make. His wife has advanced dementia and is difficult for anyone to manage, let alone a 90-plus-year-old spouse. She would not allow aides or companions into her home —that was the first option. She would not consider moving to an assisted living facility. She was closed to every available option. So she stayed where she was longer than was...

Preparing for Those End-of-Life Decisions

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

May 27, 2016

It has to be one of my least favorite things to do. It also happens to be the most spiritually moving thing to be asked to do. It is a request I’ve heard more than once. This time it began with a phone call. “Jim, could you meet us at the hospital. Mom is doing very poorly and we have decided to remove her from life support. We would so appreciate it if you were there when that happens.” I hurriedly cleaned up, got dressed and headed for the hospital, where I was greeted with a question that, I ...

Finding New Ways to Offer God's Hope

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

April 13, 2016

“I’m not very big,” said the Little Blue Engine. “I have never been over the mountain.” “But we must get over the mountain before the children awake,” said all the dolls and the toys. The little engine looked up and saw the tears in the dolls’ eyes. And she thought of the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain who would not have any toys or good food unless she helped. Then she said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” These words from the beloved, “The Little ...

“Washed Clean” by Telling Our Stories

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries

March 14, 2016

“I feel clean again.” Who said that?  He is in his nineties and facing major changes in his life. Most of them he did not expect. As loss piled on loss, he began to think differently about life. He did not like what he was thinking, but even so, the thoughts kept coming. Up until this point, he had always been sure of his faith. Now he was thinking his faith was wavering and he did not like that reality. He talked one day, unloading his situation and his reason for wondering if his faith would...

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