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An Age of Opportunity

Intentional Ministry by, with, and for Older Adults

Richard H. Gentzler Jr. • May 2018

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A companion to the author's earlier book Designing an Older Adult Ministry (Discipleship Resources, 1999), this book will provide new information and outline ways to develop and strengthen ministries by, with, and for older adults that can, and will, enhance the spiritual growth and well-being of people of all ages.

The church is beginning to recognize that there are vast numbers of older people in its membership. It is becoming aware of its indebtedness to them for the leadership, support, service, and faith that has made the church of today possible. The church is uniquely positioned to help older adults respond to the challenges of aging; to see the tremendous potentialities in the lives of older adult for making the church and community better; and to assist older people as they experience new meaning and purpose in their later lives.

Chapters include "Why Older-Adult Ministries?"; "Understanding the Aging Process"; "Aging and the Spiritual Journey"; "The New Seniors: Boomers?"; "Intentional Ministry by, with, and for Older Adults"; "Organizing for Intentional Ministry in the Local Church"; "Organizing for Intentional Ministry in the Conference"; "Congregational Care Ministry"; "Additional Ideas for Intentional Ministry"; and "Trends in Aging." Appendixes include a "Facts about Aging" quiz, information on creating and using older adult surveys, and suggested resources for further reading and study.


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.

ISBN: 978-0-88177-903-5

Kindle ISBN: 978-0-88177-904-2

EPub ISBN: 978-0-88177-905-9

Imprint: Discipleship Resources

Pub Date: 20180501

Trim Size: 6 in (w) x 9 in (h) x in (d)

Page Count: 176

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Adult

BISAC1: REL109010

BISAC2: REL012120

BISAC3: REL095000