Monday, September 1, 2008

Breaking the “Boomer Code” – Part 3 of 5

Posted by Leona Bergstrom

Code Breaker #2: Relationships

When we first began working with Boomers we surveyed a large sampling of them and discovered that individuals were longing for relationships and a sense of community. During the child-raising years it seemed relatively easy for relationships to develop around common interests such as soccer teams and ballet recitals. But with life morphing into something unrecognizable there seemed to be a deepening need for relationships. Also, those surveyed responded simply, “We just want to have some FUN.”

Yep, these adults who are working 60-80 hours a week, babysitting grandkids, caring for increasingly dependent parents, paying off mortgages and college tuition bills, and going to the doctor more frequently, well, they want to kick up their heels and have some fun “like the good old days.”

So a great deal of our ministry has been in developing opportunities through which Boomers can begin to make new friends, share life and party! One success that has now become an annual event is our “Boomer Bash.” We started when the Boomers first started turning 60 so that we could celebrate such a milestone. We pulled out the tie-dye shirts, daisy chains, pizza and Cokes – oh, and a real live Golden Oldies band, and we threw a party! What happened was that people laughed, tapped their toes, danced, remembered and sang every word to every song, and had fun. They also heard the stories of fellow-Boomers who had found Christ and how their lives had been changed. The first Bash broke down some walls and smashed some stereotypes and incredibly, it wasn’t so bad to be in the 2nd ½ Ministries group!

We’ve worked at trying to create environments in which people can develop relationships. We do small group dinners, have large group gatherings around themes and interests, and hold classes and support groups around common issues and concerns. We’ve seen churched people begin to forge relationships with each other and reach out to other Boomers in their communities. Inviting one’s un-churched friend to hear a Beatles sound-alike band might be an easier entrée to church than morning worship.

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