The third annual AAIM Roundup was held May 2 at Rich Fork Baptist Church in Thomasville. AAIM (Aging Adults Innovating Ministry) is a network of ministers and lay leaders who conduct an annual Roundup and Fall Regional Gatherings in order to strengthen aging adult ministries. AAIM is an outreach of North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM). NCBAM is a ministry of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).
This year’s AAIM Roundup theme, “The Family of God,” focused on the special needs of caregivers and the role of the church in supporting them. Following four early-bird sessions, the agenda included two addresses, special music, and opportunities to visit with select vendors. A “parade of churches” exhibited innovative ways to help frail aging adults and their caregivers.
AAIM chair Stan Heiser and BCH president/CEO and NCBAM founder Michael C.
Blackwell kicked off the event. Blackwell introduced the keynote address by Allan Blume. In addition to having pastored three North Carolina Baptist churches, Blume has served as editor/president of the Biblical Recorder since 2011. Blume’s address focused on why churches should support aging adults and their caregivers. He shared that Baptists have always been great influencers of politics, families, law and art. “As we have been salt and light in other ways, let’s be on the front line of ministry to aging adults."
The closing address was given by Beth Harris. A minister’s wife for 28 years, Harris has served on the boards of Salem Pregnancy Support Center and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Harris has also walked the caregiver’s journey. Her closing address was a moving recollection of her years of struggle and triumph as a caregiver.
Harris called the church to be aware of the challenges facing caregivers. “I want churches to know that caregivers are at places where they don’t think they can go on one more day. They need respite. They need to be encouraged. They need to be told, ‘I see God working in you; I see God glorified in you.’”
Uplifting music was woven through the event. Dr. Randy Stewart, BCH staff member and pastor of Mills Home Baptist Church in Thomasville, played keyboard and accompanied soloist Roberta Edwards. Dennis Streets, executive director of Chatham County Council on Aging, joined the Council’s 30-member choral group who kicked off the day with spirited hymns.
Four early-bird sessions were held at 9:00 a.m. Beth Harris offered “Managing the Long Goodbye.” Chris Schofield, director of the Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening at the Baptist State Convention offered “Kingdom Prayer and Senior Adults.” Carolyn Hill, retired nursing home administrator and senior adult retreat leader, offered “Caregiver Support from the Church.” NCBAM’s regional directors Martha McDowell (north central) and Debra Kuykendall (central west) offered “Help for the Journey: how NCBAM can help.”
More than 150 senior adult ministers, lay leaders, and church members were in attendance. Phyllis Crane, Senior Adult Minister at First Baptist Church Clayton, valued the mix of spiritual encouragement and community resources. “The statewide resources were very helpful. It’s great to have something tangible as well as spiritual to take back to the seniors in my church.
Rev. Charles McKinney, Minister of Senior Adults at First Baptist Church Jacksonville, says he is already looking forward to next year’s conference. “The AAIM Roundup was informing, inspiring and educational all in one. The vendors provided resources for second-half ministries. The venue and speakers were phenomenal.”
Regional AAIM events are planned for this Fall. Eastern area: First Baptist Church Rocky Mount, September 25, 10:00 – 2:00 pm. Central area: NCBAM, October 17, 10:00 – 1:00 p.m. Western area: Buncombe Baptist Association, October 19, 10:00 – 2:00 p.m. For more information, call NCBAM at 877.506.2226.
Learn more about AAIM at www.ncbam.org