The Coming Silver Tsunami: A Volunteer Crisis in Aging Congregations

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I have a friend who works in the long-term care industry. They operate facilities for older people who need help living independently. Their services range from assisted living, which requires three meals a day and some basic housekeeping services, to full nursing care, which requires round-the-clock support from a highly trained medical staff.

In our conversation, he used a term that I have been thinking about a lot: the silver tsunami. Tens of millions of Americans will be moving into the last stage of their lives in the next several years, and there just aren’t enough beds and trained staff to meet the rising demands of an aging population.

The church is facing its own type of silver tsunami right now regarding the kinds of folks who shoulder the volunteer burden of the church. In many small and medium-sized churches, members organize events, generate financial reports, and do essential maintenance

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