This article is part of The Third Third of Life Toolkit—a collection of resources for ministry to and with people ages 55 and over, brought to you by two ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America: Disability Concerns and Faith Formation Ministries.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), more than 60 percent of American adults neglect to create wills and advance directives. Excuses vary from “I haven’t gotten around to it” to “I don’t have much money anyway.” But it’s important to make provision for our wishes about dying and the distribution of our estate.
Churches can help by offering training or connecting members of the congregation to helpful resources. The resources on this page are a place to start.
Articles and Blogs
When Flesh and Heart Fail: Why Believers Should Consider Advance Directives. In this beautiful article, Kathryn Butler clearly explains the importance of advance directives in an era of increasingly complex medical care.
In Preparing for the Next Stage: Your “Senior Days” Elly VanAlten challenges adults to plan ahead for where and how they will live as they age and to create an advance directive.
Generosity During the Retirement Years is an inspiring account of how one couple planned for generosity.
Planning Your Legacy: A Christian Guide to Planning Your Will and Trust. This helpful guide from the Barnabas Foundation describes and explains all the things you need to consider when creating your will or trust and your advance directives, along with helpful forms that will guide you through the process.
Advance Directives. This video from Mayo Clinic clearly explains the importance of advance directives.
The Importance of Having a Trust or Will. This brief newscast discusses some of the reasons for creating a will or trust.
What’s a Durable Power of Attorney? A concise explanation of the meaning of power of attorney and the contrast between power of attorney and durable power of attorney.
When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg challenges readers to consider the true purpose of the “game” of life and reminds us that everything we win belongs to God (and goes back in the box!). The book helps readers think about what’s temporary and what’s permanent in this life and challenges us to arrange priorities based on eternal prizes. Works well both for personal study and group discussion.
FOR THOUGHT OR DISCUSSION
Do you have an advance directive, power of attorney, and a will in place? If not, what are the considerations that are holding you back?
How could your church start to offer support in this area?
If you’re part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and you have questions about how to strengthen your church’s ministry to and with people in the third third of life, one of Faith Formation Ministries’ Regional Catalyzers would love to talk with you about ideas and strategies.