A church in our area recently completed a project to reach senior adults with the gospel and accelerate the spiritual growth of their senior members. They hosted a Vacation Bible School for senior adults. It was my privilege to be their Bible study leader for a few of their sessions.
VBS for Seniors met each morning for a week in August. The format was old-school VBS—complete with an opening assembly featuring pledges, corresponding hymns, school motto, and group memory verse. If that makes you smile, you are old enough to remember when VBS started each day with an assembly featuring those elements. If you have no idea what that means, ask a senior in your church to explain it to you!
After the opening assembly, the group—almost 100 strong in total enrollment—divided into groups for rotations through various components of the school. These included missions, activities, refreshments, etc. It was a full morning of moving from class to class, experiencing various learning options and participating in various educational activities. There was a lot of laughter and shared memories—including some reflection on decades of leading VBS for others over the years. It was also a fulfilling worship experience as the congregational singing featured classic hymns that have defined worship for seniors over the years.
But this was more than a trip down memory lane, a nostalgic throwback to give old people a way to stay busy. It was a missional opportunity for seniors to invite their friends to hear the gospel, experience Christian fellowship, receive biblical teaching, and grow in their relationship to God. The best part of Senior VBS was the baptismal service during the opening assembly on the final day of the school! Seniors who had recently come to faith in Jesus and those converted during VBS were invited to participate in the baptismal service. The pastor led that service—with a focus on celebrating the gospel transforming seniors and baptism as their public declaration of their faith.
Churches today—as they should—mostly design their ministries and worship services to reach younger families. That’s a strategically significant choice which most seniors support. But it’s also important to present the gospel and teach people how to live their faith at every age. Senior VBS is an intentional way to do just that. It’s a low budget, high impact way to connect with a community who need the gospel. It’s also a lot of fun! Perhaps this is a strategy more churches or associations can use to get the gospel to senior adults.
Dr. Chris Chun hosted a digital symposium with Dr. Michael Haykin and Dr. Robert Caldwell to discuss Edwards’ spirituality, devotional life and theological impact in American Christianity.