REPUBLIC— Though retirement isn’t necessarily on Denny Marr’s radar, he still loves cheering on his fellow Baby Boomers as they leave the workforce and are able to give more of their time and energy to their church and to the kingdom of God.
“Senior adults are probably the greatest untapped resource the church has,” said Marr, senior adults and pastoral care pastor at Calvary Baptist Church here. “Their wisdom, their time – our church needs them. And while I certainly don’t want to wear them out, because like me they may not have the longevity they used to, I do want to engage as many senior adults as I can each week to project outward and reach people for Jesus.”
Marr has been on staff at Calvary since 1995, but has only transitioned into his new ministry with senior adults in the last year.
“Since I just turned 62 this new role fits with my season of life quite well and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to do what I love the most: ministry and discipleship,” he said.
Senior adults make up about 20 percent of Calvary Baptist Church’s multi-generational congregation. Like most churches, Calvary desires to reach out to the twenty and thirty-something crowd, however Marr also sees evangelistic opportunities among senior adults. For example, each year Calvary hosts a Fall Carnival that includes a high-caliber car show. Marr is organizing an intentional outreach project during the spring and summer to prepare for that event.
“My personal goal is to go after the senior adults who don’t know Jesus,” he said. “We’ve never really had an evangelistic campaign and so we are going to pray over our list of names and reach out to them with the gospel.”
This requires strategy. Essentially there are two generations inside the senior adult age range, the Builders and the Boomers.
“Builders like to fellowship together in ways such as simply hanging out and doing like-minded activities or getting on a bus and going somewhere,” said Steve Whistler, retired senior adult pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, in the winter edition of Calvary’s in-house magazine, CBC Mission. “Boomers want to work together on a cause or a project. They like being together for ministry purpose. Working with two distinct generations is much like a youth pastor being responsible for Jr. and Sr. High students.”
Marr interviewed Whistler for his church magazine and said Whistler’s insight into the current senior adult ministry landscape is spot-on. Marr said this truth translates into different springboards for outreach.
“That’s why Bible study, fellowship opportunities and mission projects can all be entry points into becoming a part of our church family and, more importantly, the family of God,” Marr said.
While welcoming new believers into the family is a top priority at Calvary, discipleship training inside its senior adult ministry is also very important. Marr’s passion is to make disciples who make disciples.
“I want to see senior adults intentionally making disciples, which means we need an intentional evangelism and mentoring process,” he said. “One of our pillars at Calvary is to build community. Our senior adults have the wisdom to pour into the lives of our multi-generational church. John Piper said, ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.’ If we can help the senior adults find satisfaction in Christ and in building His kingdom, God will receive the greater glory and they will receive greater significance until the very end.”