Helpful Resources for Third Third Flourishing - February 2023 Edition

By Mark D. Roberts

March 5, 2024

De Pree Journal

In my leadership of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative, I’m always looking for up-to-date and trustworthy information on what it’s like to be an older adult in the United States. (Of course, I am one of these, so I have my own ideas about this.) In the last four years, I’ve read dozens of books and hundreds of articles related to this topic, but it won’t do you much good if I give you an overly-long bibliography. You need something that summarizes the data in an accessible way.

Second Half of Life Study

I found that “something” fairly recently. It’s the Second Half of Life Study that was done through a partnership between AARP and National Geographic. It was published just a few months ago so it reflects recent research. AARP and National Geographic produced an extremely helpful Executive Summary that is available for free online. The summary itself is 56 pages long, so can get an idea of just how much information has been included.

If you are looking for a handy but trustworthy introduction to what’s going on with older adults in the U.S., this will serve you well. Some of the insights you’ll anticipate, like: “Optimists expect and want to live longer than pessimists.” Now that makes sense! Many others will surprise you, such as: “Fear of dying is low and drops as you age; feeling prepared grows as you age.” Really?!

Most Helpful Third Third Books

My Kindle has 77 books in the Third Third category of my library. I’ve read many of these carefully and scanned most of them. Plus, I own at least a dozen physical books about aging. I have many favorites among my third third books but will discipline myself to mention only three of them here. These are books I have found both fascinating and most helpful. They would certainly help you discover creative ways to serve third third people. And they are also books you can confidently recommend to your flock.

  • Aging Matters: Finding your calling for the rest of your life, by R. Paul Stevens. This is my favorite Christian book on aging. It’s full of wisdom, biblical truth, and compelling stories. It’s written for someone in the third third of life, but even young pastors could learn a lot from Aging Matters, both for their third third ministry and for their own lives. (Plus, the Kindle edition is only $1.99 right now. Such a deal!)
  • Aging Faithfully: The Holy Invitation of Growing Older, by Alice Fryling. This book focuses on how we can go deeper in our relationship with God as we grow older. Though relevant to everyone in the third third of life, this book speaks with particular relevance to those who are experiencing some of the losses that come with aging. You might also enjoy a webinar conversation I had with Alice about her book.
  • Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy, and Sharp, by John Medina. This book, written by a brain scientist, is a popular and delightful presentation of ways that contemporary neuroscience helps us to be healthier and happier as we get older. There is so much to learn here! This is not a “Christian book” in the obvious sense, though the content is certainly compatible with Christian faith. John Medina in addition to being a leading scientist is also an articulate Christian.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

More on Mark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *