AARP launches faith-based initiative to reach senior churchgoers

New online tool kit provides guidelines and resources for faith-based organizations looking to reach older Americans
AARP announced today the release of their first African American/Black Faith-Based Initiative Tool Kit. This self-service tool kit was created by AARP experts in collaboration with faith leaders from across the nation as a resource to aid in addressing the unique issues that affect many African Americans aged 50+ in the faith-based community.
“From our conversations with a number of faith leaders from the Conference of National Black Churches, we learned they overwhelmingly felt that there were not enough resources provided to older African-Americans in their congregations on issues that mattered to them in the 21st century,” said  Edna Kane Williams, Senior Vice President of Multicultural Leadership at AARP.

According to a 2016 AARP survey, 80 percent of African American adults age 50 and older were involved in religious or spiritual activities. The African-American/Black Faith-Based Initiative Tool Kit was designed to harness this aspect of the African-American cultural experience. The survey also implied that as adults aged, they became less involved in religious/spiritual activities. The new tool kit seeks to help engage those able to stay involved.

“It was very important for us to be involved with this project because we noticed our members transitioning from the choir stand to the sick and shut-in list,” says Jacqueline Burton, President of the Conference of National Black Churches. “We want our members to stay involved as they age, and this toolkit can serve as a framework to help refresh ministries that cater to older members.”

“The ultimate goal of the Faith-Based Initiative Tool Kit is to assist clergy in building and enhancing their ministries by helping to educate their 50-plus parishioners on various topics — from Medicare and Social Security to digital literacy and healthy aging,” Williams said.

The tool kit is divided into four issue sections:

Key Learnings: Data and statistics about African Americans in the United States and lists tips for organizing and sustaining an effective ministry.

Your Health: Information about adopting a healthy lifestyle, care giving and an in-depth guide to understanding Medicare and Medicaid.

Your Wealth: Resources designed to help older adults understand their finances. This section covers everything from keeping a competitive edge in the workplace to understanding Social Security benefits.

Your Life: Solutions for adopting a healthy perspective about aging and navigating life’s transitions. Also includes an index of resources that promote digital literacy and fraud protection.

The full African American/Black Faith-Based Initiative Tool Kit is available free online.
For more information about AARP’s African-American multicultural initiatives, visit AARP Black Community online.


—Information provided by AARP