Baby Boomers and Beyond - Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50


A book review by Leona Bergstrom

The purpose of this book is to serve as a wake-up call to the church. We are at an unprecedented time in history where greater numbers of people are living longer. Today’s midlife and older adults represent a privileged generation having greater opportunities for education, wealth acquisition and influence than any before. Yet, church leaders often marginalize, even ignore, this vast army of disciples and servants.

This book addresses many of the challenges faced by today’s Boomers. Readers will certainly have a better idea of what this generation faces as it encounters health issues, caregiving challenges, retirement, and family relationships.  Amy’s background in sociology and gerontology uniquely positions her to share quantitative research and observations.

However, the true value of the book to church leaders is the myriad of real-life examples of successful ministry and programs that Amy shares. She has interviewed successful program leaders from across the country and highlights best practices and innovations and ways to implement them in local settings.

Amy’s passion is for Boomers to understand their unique calling within the body of Christ. She admonishes them to continue to grow spiritually and to live a life of faith and service that will inspire generations to come.


Part I: Ready for More: The New Old

This section addresses demographic information substantiating the need for midlife and older adult ministries. Clearly, the mere numbers of boomers in our communities and churches warrant attention. The author also establishes the argument that the baby boom generation is unique in its shared experiences and perspectives and that churches need to understand that a new focus is required.

An entire chapter entitled, “Not What You Think” bashes some of the common myths about aging that prevent church leaders from developing effective programs and ministries. For example, assuming midlife and older adults are  “all religious” keeps us from implementing spiritual growth initiatives or evangelistic approaches.

Part II: The Boomer-and-Beyond World

Amy spends an entire 38 pages describing some of the issues today’s aging adults are facing. She discusses how to age well – physically, emotionally, financially, and socially. She also discusses what relationships will encounter during midlife including dealing with adult children, caregiving for parents, and maintaining vibrant mature marriages. Finally she discusses some of the expectations – real and not-so-real—for retirement.

Part III: Harnessing the Potential: Implications for the Church.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. Amy outlines ways to effectively minister to and through Boomers in the local church setting. Chapter 6, “Letting Go of the ‘One Size Fits All’ Mentality” addresses what many church leaders are facing, that clearly you cannot minister to a 50 year old the same was as you do an 85 year old! An entire new way of doing ministry is needed if we are to have effective ministry relationships with Boomers. She also addresses the need for intergenerational ministry and opportunities for people of all ages to share journeys of faith.

Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults Over 50.  Amy Hanson, PhD.  Jossey Bass Publishers. San Francisco, CA. 2010. 

    Point - September 2018

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