“We never retire from serving Jesus”

Mobberly Baptist senior adults setting a high bar

Whether they are serving in the children’s ministry each week, volunteering at an Operation Christmas Child drop-off location for a day or walking eight miles daily on mission in Africa, the senior adults at Mobberly Baptist Church in the Longview-Marshall area of northeast Texas are setting a high bar.

“We are actively involved in a variety of capacities at our church,” said Scott Schulik, who has served as minister of maturing adults at Mobberly for 20 years. “There is truly no limit to the breadth of interests and abilities we have. We are all about making disciples, encouraging relationships and standing in strong support of making wellness a priority so that we can go do the things God is calling us do.”

Billy Barnes, the senior adult associate for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, said seniors who are intentional about regular exercise and related healthy habits are much more likely to stay active both inside and outside the church.

“I know 85-year-olds and even 90-year-olds across the state who are completely sold out to whatever God would have them do, and they watch their health and what they eat and have done so all their lives,” Barnes said. “Sure, they may fudge a little bit, but overall they never stop watching what they are doing. The active senior adults I know take advantage of community rec centers and low-impact exercise classes. What’s good for their bodies is good for the whole body of Christ.”

Schulik agrees. And though the senior adult ministry at Mobberly doesn’t have a recreational ministry or Christian fitness program per se, it does focus on a holistic “mind, body and soul” approach to spiritual health.

“Our community offers a wide range of exercise and physical activity programs so we don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Schulik said. “But we do embrace and encourage our members to take part in activities that will help them maintain their health and wellness. Physical health, of course, but our people also take part in organizations and groups that address emotional needs and the support they need to prepare for various stages of life.”

For example, some of Mobberly’s senior adults take grandparents’ classes and other life-skill courses together they partner with the East Texas Alzheimer’s Alliance at their church. They also host weekly GriefShare meetings for those who have lost loved ones.

“We also have one lady who volunteers her time at a cancer center,” Schulik said. “Ultimately, we desire to continue to grow in Christ as we face and prepare for the challenges of this life. In our church, it looks like this because we are maximizing the resources that are available in our community. I think every church should define what health and wellness ministry looks like and how it fits within their mission.”

Schulik said one challenge most churches have is finding ways to improve their ministry to their homebound population.

“We need to continue to pour into their lives in such a way that we maintain meaningful relationships and they stay connected to their home church,” he said. “By intentionally seeking and serving them we can ensure they don’t become the forgotten members of our churches, and we can encourage them to live purposefully every day.”

No part of the body—that includes the church body or a believer’s individual body—should ever be neglected or ignored. Schulik said when one area is unhealthy, whether physical or emotional, it very much affects the whole person and the ability to serve Christ and glorify God.

“God’s calling is a lifelong calling,” he said. “We may choose to retire from this or that and even reinvent our lives to make room for something new, but we never retire from serving Jesus.”  

TEXAN Correspondent
Kayla Rinker
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