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From Kentucky Today: Lexington Tries New Ministry: Senior Adult VBS

The following article is syndicated from the original article published in Kentucky Today. CKNB is publishing this article as it provides coverage of a Network affiliated church, sponsor or entity.


Life Issues Reporter, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Bill Ellis was looking for something new, different and fun for the senior adults at Immanuel Baptist Church. An idea for a Vacation Bible School tailored to the older population of the Lexington congregation began to take form.

Ellis, who serves as 55 Plus Pastor at Immanuel, said the event— to take place July 22-24 — will support the overall church strategy of calling believers to gather, grow and serve.

"We will have some opening assembly time. We'll do some fun stuff in there. We'll probably have some giveaways," said Ellis. "We'll have some testimony time, sing some hymns and then we'll have Bible study."

Bill Fort, a longtime KBC pastor now serving as Associate Pastor of Member Care at FBC Somerset, will lead the Bible study sessions.

Following a break, attendees will reconvene for a big band performance on Monday and a bluegrass band on Wednesday. On Tuesday, seminar sessions will cover topics such as emotional health, intentional grandparenting and getting finances in order.

Less than a year into his role, Ellis is helping expand what ministry to senior adults looks like at Immanuel. Instead of working only with those of traditional retirement age, Ellis connects those 55 and older to service opportunities in the church community and works with Bible study groups in that age demographic.

"We don't like to use the word retirement because we don't think that's biblical," Ellis said.

"One of the aspects of this (ministry) that's really, I think, unique and different is trying to work with folks that are coming to the close of their first or second career and help them prepare for their next career," he added. "And so, without saying the word retirement, helping them to understand how the gifts and talents, resources, experiences that they've had in whatever their full-time job or part time job was and how they can use those in our church and our community in the future."

Ellis said the testimonies given by church members during the VBS experience will reinforce this vision, as those speaking will share how they are serving at Immanuel and in the Lexington community.

"We want to raise the bar ... make sure that our 55 plus crowd knows that they have ways that they can serve, gifts that they can use, talents that they have that can continue to be used in our church community," Ellis said.

Before joining the pastoral staff at Immanuel, Ellis served in student, collegiate and adult ministry. He's found that much of what he did in those roles translates to 55 Plus ministry.

"When I was in collegiate ministry, it was helping people figure out what God wanted them to do with their life. And now it's the same question. It's just a little bit different in that they've got more time, talents, resources, experiences to bring to the table, so to speak."

Ellis encourages other churches to try a Senior VBS, or explore new, different forms of ministry...

"It's a new and exciting day in ministry," Ellis said. "Go ahead and try something new, try something different and see how the Lord uses it."

Learn more about Immanuel Baptist Church at To find a Kentucky Baptist Convention church near you, visit


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