POAMN and the Office of Christian Formation (OCF) of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) are partnering on an online module to help people create or initiate older adult ministries (OAM) in their congregations.

For many of us, two books published by PC(USA) in the 1990s served as invaluable guidelines for developing our ministries to older adults. As excellent as these books were, the time has come to upgrade them to take advantage of new information and new means of accessing information.

In September 2022, as part of a meeting of the Christian Formation Collective, PMA & POAMN began to envision something more effective. The approach involved three steps: review, re-think, and re-imagine.

During review, we identified current gaps in POAMN’s support of older adult ministry. These gaps included:

  • Need for online training
  • Need for more diverse leaders
  • Need for quick access
  • Need for resources written in Spanish/Korean
  • Basics of older adult ministry
  • Individual coaching
  • POAMN Network News needs more links

Our re-think sessions brought out that revising/updating the 1990s-era guides would provide a technical solution, but not address the gaps above. We then brainstormed novel ideas to overcome those gaps. Ideally, the new OAM resource should:

  • Build upon OAM’s past resources (i.e., written materials)
  • Be accessible to a person with a smart phone or PC
  • Be printable (for the folks who like to work from hardcopies)
  • Require no payment or fee to access
  • Provide short videos by experts
  • Employ infographics for visualization of numerical facts
  • Be modular and updateable over time

Our re-imagine sessions led us to creating a digital resource on the POAMN website instead of a printed or electronic book. This resource will be modeled after the new Opening Doors to Discipleship website recently launched by Association of Partners in Christian Education. We plan for it to include:

  • Factsheets, templates, charts, and videos
  • Real examples of older adult ministry in a variety of contexts
  • Interviews with ministry leaders and participants
  • Cool stuff in older adult ministry
  • Links to more tools

Since January 2023, a group of representatives from the Office of Christian Formation (OCF) and POAMN have been busy developing materials for this web-based resource. The team consists of Miatta Wilson, Sarah Erickson, Linda Rauenbuehler, and Quentin Holmes.

We look forward to sharing more information with you in the future, including a launch date.

Quentin Holmes
Editor, POAMN Network News