Hosting a beautiful baby contest is a fun way to feature the older members of your congregation. The senior adults are at the front and center, but everyone participates in selecting the winner.
The display of older adults as babies and toddlers can spark conversations and interactions across generations.
Encourage children to view the display and help them vote. As they look at the pictures, ask them questions, such as how clothing styles in the pictures differ from what babies wear today or how photography has changed due to technology.
This process helps children make the connection that older adults were once young themselves and that their childhoods may have been different.
In addition, the activity can involve all older adults, whether they come to church regularly or not.
Consider ways to make the submitted photos available to participants who are not able to come to the building. This may include posting them on your website in a members-only area or including them in the newsletter.
POAMN president Pat Baker recalled the reaction of one beautiful baby contest winner who had not attended church for many years due to ill health.
“Previously feeling invisible,” she shared, “he was thrilled to be chosen most beautiful and said he felt a new connection to the congregation as a result.”
Holding a Beautiful Baby Contest
Invite members age 60 and up to provide photos with the following stipulations:
- Each person may submit only one photo.
- Each photo should depict the submitter at age 2 or under.
- The photo should not include any hints, props, or labels to identify the person pictured.
To keep their identities secret, each older adult should submit their photo in an envelope to the organizer.
The organizer numbers each photo and keeps a record of who’s who. Then they display the photos for the congregation to view and vote on the most beautiful. A display case or glass-fronted cabinet is ideal for this, but photos also can be taped to the wall or secured to a bulletin board.
Provide paper, pens, and a collection box or bowl for voting. Each voter need only note the number of the picture they’ve chosen as “most beautiful” on the paper before placing it into the bowl or box. Display photos and collect votes for Older Adult Month (May) or another time of your choosing.
Count the votes and announce the winner on the final Sunday of the month. Award the winner a fun trophy.
Patricia Baker is the director for older adult and caregiver ministries at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Tucker, Georgia. Currently POAMN’s president, she has been involved with POAMN since its inception in the early 1980s. Her career in the field of aging and caregiving spans five decades working in public, private, and faith positions. Her love is doing older adult ministry and working with family caregivers. She retired from her government job in the summer of 2018 and is now tithing her time at her local church. She also facilitates three caregiver support groups and is staying active at the local, regional, state, and national level serving on boards and as an advisor.
This article originally appeared in the 2023 Older Adult Ministry Planning Guide.