Where's the (Beef) Church?

Over thirty years ago, Wendy's debuted their "Where's the Beef?" commercial campaign, starring Clara Peller as an older lady demanding more meat from her fast-food hamburger establishment. The campaign was a huge success for Wendy’s.

I was reminded of Clara yesterday while our small group leader was teaching from the book of Acts. The Apostles were doing their best to lead the new church following the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. One passage at the end of chapter 2 caught my attention. The early church fellowshipped with one another in their homes. They ate together (communion and meals). They gave to anyone who had need.

By this point our small group leader had lost my attention as I wondered what would it look like if today’s churches… were a bit more like the early church. Well, for starters, we would have less of a need for organizations like Meals on Wheels, a non-profit organization that distributes food to seniors. Thankfully, we have such help today standing in the gap, but the need is larger than these organizations can handle.

The point was driven home to me several months ago when I was in my state’s capital city, meeting with the head of a statewide organization to talk about Elder Source and aging. The person said something like this, “If churches were to get involved with the foster care program, we would have no foster care crisis.” My first reaction was to think that I hadn’t been talking about foster care; then I realized something. She had gotten my point.

There is no group in society and the church today that is as overlooked as seniors. Several years ago a pastor friend of mine wrote 100 local churches in his denomination to invite them to a free meal so that he and I could discuss senior ministry with them. Only one pastor came. Sadly, as I continue to try to engage churches, I continue to get the same result.

In Acts we read that the church grew massively in those early years. The persecution of the church that followed a few short years after Acts 2 only made the church stronger and larger. What was their secret? I believe it was the fact that they fellowshipped, they broke bread together, and they didn’t leave anyone behind!

Millions of seniors are in every corner of society and the church. They are shut-in or in care centers, and many rarely receive a visit, a card, a note, a touch, a hug… from anyone other than a caregiver. Elder Source exists for these, our forgotten masses!

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries