Arkansas Church Provides Seniors With Meaningful Ministry Opportunities

The Church: Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers, Arkansas
The Challenge: Provide senior adults with meaningful ministry opportunities.
One Big Idea: Mobilize involvement through Operation Christmas Child, one of the group’s many ministry initiatives.

Giving back to others through service is a hallmark of the senior-adult ministry at Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas. The Prime Time Community—an active group of 300 adults—not only has made a big contribution to an outside ministry, but they also have helped their Rogers, Arkansas, church do the same.

Eight years ago, a dozen Prime Time seniors decided to participate in Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse that delivers shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies to children around the world. The first year they assembled 50 shoeboxes, and they enjoyed it so much that they got the entire group to adopt the ministry and participate together as a whole.

According to Gil Pineira, director of Prime Time, the group filled 300 boxes in the first year involving the whole team; last year they put together more than 1,000.

“Prime Time uses three luncheons a year to collect the items for the shoeboxes, and they have a big potluck packing-party, putting the [boxes] together,” Pineira says.

Among the items collected were handmade gifts by the seniors, including 1,000 wooden toys, 600 dresses and 365 yarn animals.

“OCC reaching out to children has touched the hearts of our seniors and motivates them for this project,” Pineira says. “Many are grandparents, after all.”

The group’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Older adults who attend other churches have gotten involved in Prime Time’s OCC outreach—and now Fellowship Bible has joined in. According to Pineira, Prime Time members help the 6,000-member congregation assemble an additional 3,000 boxes. Once the shoeboxes are ready, 35 to 40 seniors travel to the OCC processing center in Dallas to volunteer.

“Many have never been on a mission trip before, so the Dallas trip helps with that fulfillment,” he says. “They feel they are being a part of the Lord’s work in the world.”

This ministry involvement has cultivated an important sense of purpose and usefulness in the group.

“I’ve found that seniors want to serve and will serve,” Pineira says. “They just need to be able to serve where they have passion about the project and feel that their efforts are worthwhile.”

Find more seniors outreach ideas »

Rogers, Arkansas

Lora Schrock
Lora Schrock

Lora Schrock is editor of Outreach magazine.