Many seniors of faith find it important to maintain a connection with a spiritual leader, and with good reason. Spiritual leaders can provide important guidance when seniors need it most as they navigate the complexities of aging and confronting some of the spiritual questions that come along with this stage of life.
However, finding a spiritual leader during the latter years of life may not be so easy. After all, you may have spent years cultivating relationships with spiritual leaders that have known you for large swaths of your life. Finding someone new if those people retire or move — or when you do — can be challenging. Consider some of the tips below for finding spiritual leaders as a senior.
Before you do anything else or take steps to find a spiritual leader, pray about it. Pray for God to lead you to the spiritual leader that can help you in your quest to get closer to Him. Pray for guidance in making the right decisions about whose flock you choose to become part of and ask Him to show you anything you need to know in making this important decision.
Starting a process like this one with prayer can help ensure that you follow the path God is leading you down and not one of your own making. This can help you feel more confident in your decision-making and reinforce that you have first consulted with the supreme spiritual leader in your life.
Don't feel the need to limit yourself to the first person you come across or go with someone that has been recommended to you. Take the time to meet multiple individuals and consider various churches and other organizations that might serve in this capacity to determine who you feel the strongest connection with.
Evaluate potential spiritual homes and leaders based on pastoral relationships with their flocks and how well they know the Word of God as well as the relationship and beliefs of the group as a whole. Look at how much they interact with the community and the extent to which they live a life of service.
You may find that you are eager for a spiritual leader or home, but don't rush the process. Take your time and visit different houses of worship if you are able to do so. Talk to congregants to learn more about the leaders you're considering. Engage with different spiritual leaders and determine what their style of mentorship is. Ask about their relationship with God and note the way that you interact with them.
Taking your time to engage with different possible leaders can help you to pray about each interaction and really think about the individuals with whom you form a connection. Rushing the process may result in working with a spiritual leader whose approach does not necessarily match your needs.
You are not limited to one spiritual leader, and it doesn't have to be a pastor or person in the clergy. It also doesn't have to be someone your age or older. God works through many people, and He doesn't care about age or station in a church organization.
Sometimes it's preferable to work with more than one person at a time to play to their strengths and your own. For instance, perhaps you have chosen one spiritual leader with whom you are comfortable discussing the Word of God and engaging in Bible study. Perhaps there is another that engages in the same type of community service as you do.
As long as you — and those you choose to commune with during this earthly life — keep God first, there is no reason to limit yourself. Your age and wisdom have given you a wide-ranging perspective on the world around you. Given this, you may need more than one person to help guide you through this period of your life to ensure that all of your needs are being met.
If you're looking at moving into an assisted living community such as ViewPointe, know that you may be able to find spiritual leaders right in the community. At ViewPointe in Colorado Springs, we offer worship and Bible study opportunities to connect you with spiritual leaders and faith-minded seniors who are your neighbors. You can also reach out to the community chaplain as needed.
And don't forget that you may be a spiritual leader yourself. You don't need to have years of Sunday school teaching or worship leading under your belt to model a Christlike life for others. Simply be willing to share your love of Jesus, pray for others and talk to them about Biblical topics as you are led and they are curious. Continuing to seek out and be a spiritual leader as a senior can provide numerous rewards and help you stay close to God as you age.