The vision I have cast for this Convention is that we will become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the gospel.
I do not believe we will become the strongest force possible if we do not reach people of all ages and backgrounds, and this includes our senior adult population. Unfortunately, senior adults are sometimes overlooked in ministry and evangelism efforts.
Yet, the aging adult population is increasing. In the next 15-20 years, in 70 North Carolina counties, the 65 and older population will outnumber the 0-18 population.
I am thankful that in our state we have a ministry as unique and vibrant as the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM). It is one of the ministries of North Carolina Baptist Children’s Homes. When NCBAM began in 2008, I prayed that God would use this new ministry for His glory and His purposes. I prayed that this would be an outreach not only devoted to meeting physical needs, but also to meeting spiritual needs.
I rejoice that evangelism is a priority for NCBAM. Of the calls that come in to the NCBAM call center, about 85-90 percent are from people who do not attend church.
Your NCBAM team is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and often they have an opportunity to share with these senior adults and their family members about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The call center is just one of the ways NCBAM helps connect aging adults and their families with resources to meet their needs. When people call the center they can ask questions and get the answers they need about how to best handle different situations and how to provide for various needs.
One of the most frequent requests the call center receives is for wheelchair ramps. Senior adults with disabilities are often trapped inside because they cannot safely maneuver their wheelchair in and out of their home.
I am so proud of North Carolina Baptists for helping meet this need. Earlier this year, as part of the Operation Inasmuch initiative that N.C. Baptist Men promoted, Baptist church groups and others built more than 300 wheelchair ramps in a single day for senior adults.
North Carolina Baptists are blessed to have such faithful, godly servants providing leadership to this ministry. Michael Blackwell, Sandy Gregory and the NCBAM team work diligently to care for senior adults as they help church groups and others find creative and practical ways of serving aging people who are still living in their home or with relatives.
When I think about many people who have influenced me the most throughout my life, whether Sunday School teachers, youth leaders or pastors, most are now senior adults. Please remember that senior adults are the people who taught us about God and who helped mold us into the people we are today. To serve them now is truly a privilege and great blessing.
If you would like to learn more about NCBAM please visit www.ncbam.org.