People are eager to explore and understand what the Scriptures say about heaven. To address this interest, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church’s Mature Adult Ministry hosts a series of classes called “Glimpses of Heaven.”

The series, offered at the church and in local senior living facilities, helps participants explore what our faith says about heaven and what it means for their lives today.

John Illian, pastor of visitation at Solana Beach Church, developed and leads the class.

“This class has been well received by all, including those with different faith backgrounds,” shares Pastor Illian.
Over four weekly sessions of 75 minutes each, members of the class gather to discuss heaven, read scripture, and sing hymns.

Pastor Illian recommends 8 to 12 people for each session as it makes for a comfortable, interactive gathering.

At each meeting, Pastor Illian poses a question to the group to begin conversation. Conversation starters include “Describe your picture of heaven” and “How have others pictured heaven down through the ages?” There are many examples of scripture that give a glimpse of heaven. You may wish to start with John 14:1-3 and Rev. 21:1-5. Hymns ideas include “For All The Saints,” “When We All Get To Heaven,” and “Hymn of Heaven.”

“For a richer experience for all, invite members of the class to contribute hymns and verses and suggest questions to the group,” he adds.

Pastor Illian advises leaders to anchor the exploration of heaven across the storyline of the Bible. Consider imagery and descriptions mentioned at creation, the in-between time, and in new heaven and new earth.

Tips for Hosting Your Own “Glimpses of Heaven” Series​

  • Incorporate visuals, pictures, and short videos
  • Use hymns that participants may have sung earlier in their lives and, when appropriate, hymns or songs that are contemporary
  • YouTube is a helpful resource for recordings of hymns
  • When offering this in a senior living facility, mention that this is from a Christian perspective

For more information about the Glimpses of Heaven series, contact Pastor John Illian or Cindy Wright, minister of care, at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. They welcome your comments or questions.

This article originally appeared in the 2024 Older Adult Ministry Planning Guide.