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6/26/97 Retirees ‘never too old’ to volunteer for missions

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–The current generation of Southern Baptist senior adults represents the largest block of potential volunteers, said Jim Burton, director of volunteer mobilization for the North American Mission Board.
“You’re never too old to volunteer,” Burton told participants at the Jericho missions conference June 21-27 at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center. “And, most retirees have more time to give to missions than people still in the work force.”
Burton dispelled myths about aging and excuses some retirees use to avoid volunteering. “The majority of older people are not in poor health and are not less productive than younger people,” Burton said. “In fact, less than 5 percent of senior adults in America are in nursing homes, and most older Americans have a stronger work ethic.”
He added retirees who suffer a decline in health and an early death often do so because they didn’t have a plan for retirement.
“Our careers are very important to our identity,” Burton said. “But we often fail to carry that into our retirement. Volunteering in missions can give us that sense of identity we loose when we retire.”
Burton advised retirees to begin with a short-term mission project. “You’ll get involved with something you’ll enjoy right away and will do well. Then you can move into longer-term projects from there.
“The North American Mission Board has many opportunities for service, from one week to two years,” Burton said.
Individuals interested in current NAMB mission projects can call 1-800-462-8657 for information.

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  • Lynne Jones