North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry Garners Wider Attention
After five years of rapid growth, North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) has garnered recognition from state, national and international groups. In January 2015, the Council on Accreditation (COA – an international, human service accrediting organization) interviewed staff and reviewed documents from the previous four years. COA reviewers stated, “NCBAM is an exemplary program that needs to be taken nationwide.”
In April 2015, NCBAM drew attention at the annual American Society on Aging conference in Chicago. “There was a tremendous amount of interest in the NCBAM model,” NCBAM director Sandy Gregory said. “I returned to North Carolina realizing now, more than ever, that NCBAM and North Carolina Baptists are in the right place for the age wave.”
The North Carolina Senate also recognized NCBAM’s successful partnerships. At its May 28, 2015 general assembly session, Senator John Chadwick (“Chad”) Barefoot read a Senatorial Statement lauding the accomplishments of the ministry and the positive impact of its programs on aging adults and their caregivers.
The keys to NCBAM’s statewide impact are its partnerships. From local Boy Scout troops to North Carolina’s Office of State Fire Marshal, NCBAM connects aging adults with assistance by any available means. In addition to Baptist churches, key partnerships include: regional Baptist Associations; NC Baptist Men; the NC Baptist Foundation; the Department of Insurance and SHIIP; NC’s Area Agencies on Aging; Lowe’s, Home Depot, and other lumber retailers; Meals on Wheels of NC; FaithHealthNC; and the North Carolina Association on Aging.
“No one group can do it all,” Gregory said. “But together, we make a difference in the quality of life for aging adults in North Carolina.”
NCBAM was founded in 2009 with funding by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and under the administrative umbrella of Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH). “All options were open to us,” said Michael C. Blackwell, President/CEO of BCH and NCBAM founder. “We were charged with finding out what was needed and ministering to that need.”
“When the Convention asked BCH to develop what would become NCBAM,” remembers John Butler, executive business leader with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, “we had no interest in creating another institution – we wanted a ministry to aging adults. NCBAM has proven to be a fantastic investment!”
But meeting physical needs is only part of NCBAM’s mission today. “Eighty percent of our clients are unchurched,” said Gregory. “The harvest will be ripe for churches who want to reach 50 million unchurched Boomers.” Part of NCBAM’s strategy to reach these Boomers is its newest initiative – AAIM. Aging Adults Innovating Ministry is a network of church staff and lay leaders who will help churches prepare for the generation that has always changed the world and will continue to do so as they age. “Boomers will not engage with traditional approaches to senior adult ministry,” said Gregory. “They’ll want to be involved inter-generationally – and not be singled out. They’ll want to use their talents to make a difference – not just be entertained.
“God is at the heart of the ministry. North Carolina Baptists are ready. We got this!”
The North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry is a is a dynamic Christian resource dedicated to serving North Carolina’s aging (65 years and older) and their families by providing information and referrals, connecting the aging and their families with resources to meet needs, and coordinating practical ministries. Learn more about this ministry of the Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina at www.ncbam.org