School of Music
Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)
Boomer, Second Adulthood, Senior Ministry, Intergenerational, Worship Ministry, Generational Intelligence
Liturgy and Worship | Music | Sociology
Ward, Hilery L. Jr, "Staying Alive! Reengaging Boomers in Second Adulthood Ministry: Guidance for 21st-Century Church Leaders" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2460.
Never before in American history have five generations lived together within the same time period. In 1900, the average life span in the United States was 48. Since 2015, the average life span in the U.S. has expanded to 79. The advances in technology, healthcare breakthroughs, and scientific discoveries in medicine have increased longevity, creating two new, life stages: emerging adulthood and second adulthood. Emerging adulthood is the life stage that encompasses the expanded development of young adults from late teens through mid to late twenties. Second adulthood, primarily a Baby Boomer experience, begins around age 65 and continues to “old age” (i.e., end-of-life care). Today, many churches are focused on reaching the next generation. In doing so, Boomers are often unintentionally marginalized in the periphery of church ministry in preference of reaching younger families with children. Furthermore, retiring Boomers in second adulthood face an identity crisis, seeking relevant roles in the local church. If left unnoticed and disengaged in the worship life of the church, there is a great possibility that Boomers will also retire spiritually or seek significant ways to serve outside the church. This qualitative historical study examined the existing literature to bring awareness to twenty-first-century church leaders in an effort to encourage and enable them to seize the opportunity to reengage Boomers in second adulthood. Research supports churches that are able to effectively reengage Boomers in an intergenerational, encore ministry may be the churches that see the most significant impact and sustainability for the future.