Gay Mills & Corky Holland
The need for ministry to senior adults grows more and more each day as the American population ages. From longer life spans to a growing number of individuals entering the “second chapter” of life, opportunities abound to provide new and meaningful ways to minister to this significant population. These opportunities include fellowship with other believers, spiritual growth through Bible studies and Christian speakers, education and wellness activities, and engaging adults in meaningful missions and ministries that offer care and concern to others.
First Baptist Church of Amarillo seeks to offer ministries that encourage and empower senior adults through evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, enrichment and adventure. Even in recent days, the senior adult ministry has rebranded to encapsulate the idea of embracing the passion and purpose of those who have gone before us, passing down a rich tradition and lasting legacy. At the same time, First Baptist continues to cultivate new opportunities for growth through Bible study, relationships, physical activity, missions, and fun.
For the Family at First, the word for senior adult ministry is “Heritage,” and within the new logo for this ministry, there is an “H” complete with a pillar and capstone that is often seen throughout the architecture of the beautiful sanctuary. The pillar and capstone not only offer a symbol of the “pillars” the senior adults are to First Baptist Church, but they also serve as the crossbar or connector for the first letter in the word Heritage. And just as the connector is vital in forming the letter “H,” connection is paramount for the Heritage Senior Adult Ministry of First Baptist Church.
With the addition of The Loft, there will be a tangible expression of connection as the new “sky bridge” walkway will link the Park Central Retirement Community directly to First Baptist. This bridge will, indeed, be a “game-changer” when it comes to providing a way for the many residents of Park Central to participate in both worship and the numerous activities offered through the Heritage Senior Adult Ministry. This bridge will not only pass over the constant traffic on Harrison Street, but also provide protection from all types of Panhandle weather. Upon completion of this walkway, Park Central residents living in Park Place Towers, Moore Assisted Living, the Harrington, and the Continental will be able to walk from their facilities all the way to the sanctuary of First Baptist Church without ever stepping outdoors, avoiding both inclement weather and potentially hazardous traffic. Indeed, this will be a bridge to connect the church with the many residents of the Park Central Community.
Even greater, beyond a physical bridge, The Loft will help the Senior Adult Ministry build many other types of connections as well. This includes bridging relationships as The Loft provides multiple areas to fellowship with one another, enjoying the view by a window, gathering around a table, and sharing a hot pot of coffee together. Even a walk to worship, Bible study, or First Singers can be an opportunity for connection with both old and new friends alike.
The Loft will also build bridges for Bible study and other educational opportunities with meeting rooms that can accommodate all types of groups. From women’s Bible studies to balance classes, the potential for making connections through educational activities will be abundant. Furthermore, with both inviting indoor and outdoor features, The Loft will now provide new options for Heritage Fellowships that have not been possible. Before The Loft, activities that happened just a street away or after dark limited attendance for many Park Central senior adults. Now, these activities will be far more accessible to all residents who want to participate. In addition, The Loft will build bridges for service to the community, being a great place to organize visits to homebound members, assemble care packages for friends in need, or train one another to take the word of Christ out to the community.
Yet, the bridges built by the Heritage Senior Adult Ministry utilizing The Loft will not only be limited to senior adults, but will also be bridges that make connections with all generations of the Family at First. For example, picture senior adults and high school students working side-by-side to fill Christmas care packages for the population at local prisons. And through these connections, the potential to lead someone to Christ or disciple one another in His abundant love is remarkable! There are limitless possibilities for God to provide through the addition of The Loft, and this is a great time for you to join us!