Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century
An Inquiry Approach
Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
• August 2008
The church is in the hands of its elders. While the popular perception is that the aged are needy and infirm, Gentzler affirms that the majority of older adults have plenty to give. The church needs to tap into their wisdom, energy, experience, and talents.
Gentzler stresses that older adult ministries need to be by and with elders as well as for them, since participants will represent all stages of retirement and activity levels.
In addition to the practical issues of programming, Gentzler takes on more difficult topics of aging including chronic conditions, depression, and death. He also recommends that churches pay special attention to the needs of the Baby Boomer generation, since they are now becoming the older adults who will determine the church's path for years to come.
"As Boomers have cycled through their various life stages, they passed through 'hippie' and 'yuppie' to become 'abbies': aging Baby Boomers," Gentzler writes. "But don't tell Boomers they're aging. …They really do expect to stay young and see getting old as an option, rather than a reality."
The Leader's Guide is here.
The Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr. (Rick) is the director of ENCORE Ministries, a ministry funded by the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is retired as a clergy member from the Susquehanna Annual Conference and is the former director of the Center on Aging and Older-Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship (now called Discipleship Ministries) of The United Methodist Church.
Dr. Gentzler is an internationally recognized leader in the field of aging, midlife and older-adult ministries. In 2013, he was selected by Governor Haslam to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Aging for the state of Tennessee. He was a keynote presenter for Conferences on Aging and Older Adult Ministries in Australia and New Zealand in 2013; a recipient of the “Outstanding Leadership in Older Adult Ministries Award” from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries in 2012; a recipient of the “Spirituality and Aging Award” from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and National Interfaith Coalition on Aging (NICA) in 2003; and in 2002 served as a presenter on spirituality and aging at the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, Spain. In 2005 he produced the award-winning video on aging titled, New Beginnings: The Gifts of Aging.
Dr. Gentzler is a member of the board of directors for the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee and serves as the board president. He is a resource consultant for both the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference and the Tennessee Conference Committee on Adult/Older-Adult Ministries.
Dr. Gentzler has been in ministry for more than forty-five years. He pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Maryland and taught classes at Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA), Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY), Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA), and Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN).
Dr. Gentzler is author and co-author of numerous books on aging, midlife and older adults including:
• Aging & Ministry in the 21st Century
• Aging: God’s Challenge to Church and Synagogue
• The Graying of the Church
• Designing an Older Adult Ministry
• Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus with All Generations
• Forty-Sixty: A Guide for Midlife Adults Who Want to Make a Difference
Dr. Gentzler holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Social Science/Secondary Education from Shippensburg University (Shippensburg, PA), Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), Doctor of Ministry from Boston University School of Theology (Boston, MA), and a Certificate in Aging Studies from Boston University Institute for Geriatric Social Work. He is married to the former Marilyn Ann Hozyash. They have two married children, Dr. Richard Henry III (Emily) and Elizabeth, Esq. (Jennifer) and two grandchildren, Katherine and Richard Henry IV.
Imprint: Discipleship Resources
Pub Date: August 2008
Trim Size: 7.3125 in (w) x 9.25 in (h) x 0.304 in (d)
Page Count: 128
BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Adult