I believe in seniors.
Maybe it’s because I’m closer to them than ever before. Maybe it’s because I firmly believe in intergenerational ministry which by definition must be built upon their backs. Maybe it’s because in 22 years of working for the church I have seen their incredible value as individuals and as a community.
For whatever reason, I believe in seniors.
I know that there are some stereotypes concerning seniors, especially in the church. You can almost hear them talking in the church foyer:
- “That music is too loud”
- “Take that hat off in this building”
- “We’ve never done it that way before”
It’s true, I have heard each of these things (numerous times) before, but that’s not because they are seniors… it’s because they are people.
Get a room full of 20 somethings together at a coffee shop and you’ll hear some similar chatter:
- “We need to be more missional”
- “This church just isn’t relevant”
- “We need to do something we’ve never done before”
It’s because I have stared over a coffee cup countless times in the last two decades listening to these and similar, er, ‘evaluations,’ I can say quite confidently:
Difficult people will be difficult no matter their mileage and Godly people will be Godly despite their odometer.
Our church, CrossPoint, is no exception. Over the past 11 years we have changed as we moved from a neighborhood church with 120 some attendees to a multisite church with 10 locations in 9 communities and 2,500ish each weekend.
There were some who struggled and just could not make the transitions from small to big, traditional to modern, from denominational to Biblical (By the way… some of you just puffed up because of one or more words in the previous sentence, and age had nothing to do with it).
In the metamorphosis of our church, there have been many who felt ‘lead’ to other places, and in the same breath, these changes have drawn in others.
God uses all kinds of people, in all kinds of churches, to do all kinds of work. But, I just wanted to take a moment and celebrate the seniors who have stuck it out!
Last week I had the opportunity to address a Senior Adult Luncheon we call VIP.
As I spoke, I reminded them of a list I read to them more than a decade before. When they were deciding whether or not I should be their pastor, I gave them the Top 10 Reasons to Vote No:
- If you won’t tithe 10% of your income… vote no.
- If you won’t share your faith on a regular basis… vote no.
- If you’re happy the way things are and don’t want to grow… vote no.
- If you don’t want to change programs, worship, budget, focus… vote no.
- If getting out at noon is important to you… vote no.
- If you didn’t like my preaching today… vote no.
- If being Baptist is more important than being Biblical… vote no.
- If you think the right pastor will do the trick… vote no.
- If your favorite after church meal is roast pastor/staff member… vote no.
- If you want a pastor you’ve had before… vote no.
Believe or not, they hired me, even after I read this list. I love our seniors.
At this same meeting, I not only thanked them for their faithfulness and trust. I not only agreed with them that our transformation was difficult and the exiting of some of their friends was painful.
I also reminded them how much I, and our church, needed them. They were encouraged then to spread their wisdom throughout the church by infiltrating our small groups. They were asked the to teach our children and students. They were asked to volunteer in the office and rub shoulders with staffers that need them. They were asked to volunteer in the greeter and parking lot ministry, so everyone coming to services knows who and what we value.
And, because of all this asking, we took an opportunity to deputize them (here comes the whole reason I wrote this article). We gave them a badge, asked them to join our posse and read a charge over them.
I share that charge with you, because no matter your age, you need to know the value of seniors.
And, you need to believe in them, trust them and allow them to fulfill the calling to which God has equipped them.
The Deputization of CrossPoint Seniors into RED
(Retired Extremely Dangerous)
As a follower of Christ I understand that serving Jesus is a lifetime decision.
I believe He has gifted me, trained me and prepared me for works of service as a part of the calling He has placed on my life
I am not saved unto myself, I am saved to the Lord Jesus Christ. And my service is to fulfill the Great Commission.
Seasons of life change and theaters of ministry transform, but one thing is sure as long as I draw breath… I am a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have the calling of God, the endorsement of my church and the admiration of my pastor.
I am a Joshua Elder and a Caleb Warrior. I will not rest for there is still land to take! And, I will not fear for I have been made fight giants.
I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ…until I go to Him or He comes to me my task is not complete.