Boomers Missionaries

A month ago I read an article in Time about the baby boomers (broadly defined as those who were born within a decade or so after World War II) as the fastest-growing demographic at U.S. divinity schools. The article reported that “the 50-or-older group has grown from 12% of students in 1995 to 20% in 2009.” Thus more and more people enter the ministry after retirement (or retrenchment).

And I think I have seen this phenomenon in practice. Last Sunday, on the commissioning service of a friend, his fellow missionaries attended the service. Most of them were already in their 50s or even 60s. At first I thought that they were the admin staffs who stayed in the headquarter of the mission organization, until I asked my friend and he told me that actually they would be sent soon as well to their respective fields. So the phenomenon which is reported in Time is not exclusive for those who are called to become pastors, but also for those who are called to become missionaries.

It is very intriguing, indeed, to see this in practice. You know, those lingering questions like what their underlying motives are, why now and not earlier, etc. And I guess what’s more important to note is the flexibility of what constitutes a missionary calling. The paradigm changes, the traditional image might not be the only viable option, and thus we must train our imagination!

(Or, I might be simply ignorant about this, which might have occurred for years. Anyway, I would just say: for your consideration, please.)


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