For many decades in this housing movement I have often heard people lament the demographic of our volunteers and donors noting that the majority of them have grey hair. And my response has always been, "this is not a problem." Now that my hair is greying, I really mean it! Demographically we Baby Boomers representing the estimated 79 million people born in the US between the years 1946 to 1964 currently 47-65 year’s old are an excellent prospect list for leadership for your covenant partner.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the enthusiasm Ryan, Allen and their teams bring to the organization. They helped create and run the Student Builders and the Bike Adventure programs for The Fuller Center. And they do a great job, so we are often blessed with the energy, and hopefulness that inspires the rest of us.
But God has also given us some resources that we should not overlook when looking for leadership in our organizations. They go by funny nick names: "long-in-the-tooth," "old timers," and my favorite "seasoned." There are some names that they don’t seem to like very much: "elderly" or "senior citizens." (Check out this article on the topic).
In addition to having skills, and income, the Boomers represent a population that is trying to fill a "meaning gap" in their lives. An article published today, explains this experience in the context of people over the age of 50 who are returning to seminary quoting 48 year-old student Leah Daughtry:
“We came of age at a time of activism and doing something, where you want to roll up your sleeves and be involved in something, somewhere," she said. "I don’t think we’re people who check out, and would be happy sitting on the beach in Florida looking at the sun. There’s something in our ethos that craves involvement with the world around us.”
Involvement in the world around us is exactly what The Fuller Center for housing ministry has to offer to people who want to be blessed by meaningful volunteer opportunities. Today on our monthly leadership call, we heard the story of a blind woman who was a victim in her own home that was helped by our team in Greenwood, Mississippi. In Macon, Georgia they completed their first renovation. In Idaho, the Silver Valley Fuller Center for Housing is throwing a party honoring 6 partner families that have paid off their mortgages!
We also heard the story of a woman in New Jersey who after some volunteers replaced her leaking roof asked our Fuller Center leader Neil Brown, "Now, what am I going to do with all of my rain buckets?" Each story is the story of many lives that have been changed for the better … for both the homeowners and the volunteers.
According to this article, psychologists like to ponder what is meaningful work. Almost every day at morning devotions here at The Fuller Center headquarters, we thank God for the opportunity of having meaningful work. This is the blessing your covenant partner has to offer prospective board members. So don’t be shy when looking for seasoned leadership in your community. You have 79 million chances to find out that they are already looking for you!