The Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr. (Rick) is the director of ENCORE Ministries, a ministry funded by the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is retired as a clergy member from the Susquehanna Annual Conference and is the former director of the Center on Aging and Older-Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship (now called Discipleship Ministries) of The United Methodist Church. Dr. Gentzler is an internationally recognized leader in the field of aging, midlife and older-adult ministries. In 2013, he was selected by Governor Haslam to serve on the Governor's Task Force on Aging for the state of Tennessee. He was a keynote presenter for Conferences on Aging and Older Adult Ministries in Australia and New Zealand in 2013; a recipient of the "Outstanding Leadership in Older Adult Ministries Award" from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries in 2012; a recipient of the "Spirituality and Aging Award" from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and National Interfaith Coalition on Aging (NICA) in 2003; and in 2002 served as a presenter on spirituality and aging at the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, Spain. In 2005 he produced the award-winning video on aging titled, New Beginnings: The Gifts of Aging. Dr. Gentzler is a member of the board of directors for the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee and serves as the board president. He is a resource consultant for both the Golden Cross Foundation of the Tennessee Conference and the Tennessee Conference Committee on Adult/Older-Adult Ministries. Dr. Gentzler has been in ministry for more than forty-five years. He pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Maryland and taught classes at Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA), Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY), Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA), and Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN). Dr. Gentzler is author and co-author of numerous books on aging, midlife and older adults including:

  • Aging & Ministry in the 21st Century
  • Aging: God's Challenge to Church and Synagogue
  • The Graying of the Church
  • Designing an Older Adult Ministry
  • Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus with All Generations
  • Forty-Sixty: A Guide for Midlife Adults Who Want to Make a Difference

Dr. Gentzler holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Social Science/Secondary Education from Shippensburg University (Shippensburg, PA), Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), Doctor of Ministry from Boston University School of Theology (Boston, MA), and a Certificate in Aging Studies from Boston University Institute for Geriatric Social Work. He is married to the former Marilyn Ann Hozyash. They have two married children, Dr. Richard Henry III (Emily) and Elizabeth, Esq. (Jennifer) and two grandchildren, Katherine and Richard Henry IV.
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An Age of Opportunity

Intentional Ministry by, with, and for Older Adults  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
A companion to the author's earlier book Designing an Older Adult Ministry (Discipleship Resources, 1999), this book will provide new information and outline ways to develop and strengthen ministries by, with, and for older adults that can, and will, enhance the spiritual growth and well-being of people of all ages. The church is beginning to recognize that there are vast numbers of older people in its membership. It is becoming aware of its indebtedness to them for the leadership, support, ...

An Age of Opportunity

Intentional Ministry by, with, and for Older Adults  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
A companion to the author's earlier book Designing an Older Adult Ministry (Discipleship Resources, 1999), this book will provide new information and outline ways to develop and strengthen ministries by, with, and for older adults that can, and will, enhance the spiritual growth and well-being of people of all ages. The church is beginning to recognize that there are vast numbers of older people in its membership. It is becoming aware of its indebtedness to them for the leadership, support, ...

Gen2Gen

Sharing Jesus Across the Generations  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr., Craig Kennet Miller, Melanie C. Gordon, ...
Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus Across the Generations is a collection of articles on the newest trends and issues that are affecting individuals, families, churches, and communities. Developed by staff at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, Gen2Gen will challenge you to create ministries that connect with the youngest to the oldest members of society. Multigenerational congregations are best equipped to connect with diverse groups of people as they share faith in Jesus Christ. As ...

Gen2Gen

Sharing Jesus Across the Generations  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr., Craig Kennet Miller, Melanie C. Gordon, ...
Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus Across the Generations is a collection of articles on the newest trends and issues that are affecting individuals, families, churches, and communities. Developed by staff at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, Gen2Gen will challenge you to create ministries that connect with the youngest to the oldest members of society. Multigenerational congregations are best equipped to connect with diverse groups of people as they share faith in Jesus Christ. As ...

Rock of Ages

A Worship and Songbook for Retirement Living  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr., Dean B. McIntyre
Rock of Ages is a large-print ecumenical songbook and worship guide for use in nursing homes, retirement communities, hospitals, and other older adult settings. It includes resources for leading worship, as well as the lyrics to more than 95 familiar hymns.

Safe Sanctuaries - Older Adults

The Church Responds to Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Older Adults  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr., Joy Thornburg Melton
Have you ever thought of older adults in your church as being vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, or neglect? The statistics are sobering. According to the AARP Bulletin, each year 1 in 7 older Americans is victimized physically, emotionally, or financially. But many cases of elder abuse go unreported. Elder abuse can happen to any older person—someone in your church, your neighbor, your loved one, even yourself—and anywhere. No church is immune from this reality. Don't let your church be part...

Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century

An Inquiry Approach  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
The church is in the hands of its elders. While the popular perception is that the aged are needy and infirm, Gentzler affirms that the majority of older adults have plenty to give. The church needs to tap into their wisdom, energy, experience, and talents. Gentzler stresses that older adult ministries need to be by and with elders as well as for them, since participants will represent all stages of retirement and activity levels. In addition to the practical issues of programming, Gentzler t...

New Beginnings DVD

The Gifts of Aging  
Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
How are older adults living their later years?New Beginnings looks at aging in our society and provides a glimpse at a variety of creative church ministries that are being enjoyed by older adults. Mission opportunities and teaching service abound in the stories told on film. Lives are changing, transitions are occurring, and new beginnings are taking place for countless numbers of older adults in our congregations.Filmed on location around the U.S., New Beginnings comprises individual short s...

Designing an Older Adult Ministry

Richard H. Gentzler Jr.
Building on the success of Designing a Ministry by, with, and for Older Adults, author Rick Gentzler gives readers new ways to develop and strengthen ministries with older adults, providing: information about the needs and life issues of older adults tools to help congregations evaluate their current situation models for ministry with older adults suggested resources For more information on ministries with older adults, contact the Center on Aging & Older Adult Ministries or call the toll...