Bring in the Youth But Not at the Expense of the Elderly

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Hiloan, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. Hiloan

    Hiloan
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    Programs and ministries aimed at bringing in youth are good, but I wonder if the elders are being overlooked. What's the situation in your church?
     
  2. HAMel

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    In the church we currently attend I would estimate that about 95% of the membership exceeds 65 years of age. Here, the elderly are overlooking the youth! Something is wrong with this picture.
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    Welcome to the Board!

    The problem of people being overlooked is as old as Acts 6. So it requires putting in place people who want to minister to senior adults. Living here in Retirement Central means we have lots of older people. So we have people who love ministering to and reaching senior adults.

    But it also depends on what you mean by being overlooked. Too often senior adults are looking for maintenance ministry. They are not looking to reach out to those who do not yet know Christ. They want a chaplain to just care for them. There is an education process that has to teach that the older adults, in fact, all believers, are not here to be served but to serve.

    We blow our responsibility as pastors and leaders if we just let them say, "I've done my time, now serve me."
     
  4. Bob Alkire

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    So many of us seem to forget that, thanks for bring it up.
     
  5. rbell

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    What fires me up (in a good way) is seeing a "population" minister to a group outside our population.

    Examples from our church:
    • Last year, our students put on a "Thank You, Vets!" service in our Fellowship hall. Over 100 veterans (From WW2 to current service) and their families attended. All food, entertainment, service, and related events were done by our students. Great bonding time...our kids learned a lot as well. And we ate chicken, which solidified our Baptist doctrines ( :eek: :D ).
    • Our senior adults take the lead in doing our Christmas progressive suppers for the junior high and senior high. Good chance for everyone to meet (off-campus), eat, hang out, etc.
    • Our senior adults actively search within and outside our church for ministry and mission projects (i.e., a widow's porch needs pressure-washing & painting). They pass it on to our youth; we jump in, get it done, and make sure there's a linking up to that crowd. It's become really neat to watch.
    No, we don't always get it right (and usually, when we get it wrong, it's my fault). But our seniors know that our students aren't just here to "get." And our students are also learning that lesson about our senior adults as well. Neat-O. A couple of "unintended consequences:"
    1. Our senior adults will defend our youth...and vice-versa. You don't hear the whiny over-generalizations that you sometimes hear in other churches, by one group, about the other.
    2. Our church is much larger than it was when I arrived 10 years ago. Yet, you see 70 year-olds speaking to 13 year-olds (that they aren't related to!)...and vice-versa. That's amazing, encouraging, and inspiring.
     
  6. jimc06

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    Thinking about Acts 6, we have to remember that the church was quite new at the time; none of them would have grown up in a (Christian) church. Today, many of our elders have spent the bulk of their lives in church.

    I've often wondered if we shouldn't expect more from the seniors. More tolerance, more encouraging others, more serving and teaching, more reaching outside the church to the lost. In principle, shouldn't those who've been in church the longest be the most spiritually mature?

    In practice, though, it often seems we naturally grow more set in our ways as we age, even as we learn more. Are we really discipling people in church?
     
  7. dh1948

    dh1948
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    My experience has been that too many seniors are happy to sit and soak. Too many of them feel that they have done their part and have created an environment at church in which they are very comfortable. Certainly I realize this is not true of all senior saints, but it is true of too many of them in my neck of the woods.

    I have never been blessed to have a group of seniors in my churches who have been vibrant, positive, willing to serve, and supportive (beyond lip service) of the student ministry.
     
  8. Salty

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    The govt tells us to retire from our job at age 65, so why should church be any different.:tear:

    Personally, I think thats a great time to serve:thumbsup:

    Actually, a great ministry for seniors would be to be "grandparents" as many kids grow up with only one parent...
     
  9. gb93433

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    Any time that a particular age group is not welcomed then that age group will not feel welcome and will not stay and if they do they will complain.

    If young people are the aim of the church eventually those young people will get old.

    I know of a large church (about 2000) that is now having financial troubles because the pastor has sought to reach children. The church is full of children but many good leaders have left. Those leaders were reaching people their own age and younger but now they do not feel welcome. So if they are not welcome who do they bring to church? The church has little capable leadership but lots of children's workers. The churhc is like one big revolving door.

    If God brings people your way why let them go. Why not reach them.

    Anytime I do not see a cross section of the public then I wonder.
     
  10. gb93433

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    That is not only a great time to serve. The young people need to learn to serve too. Yesterday I met with the leader of a college ministry and he told me that young people are busy with their toys but have little time for anything else. He told me they are lazy and do not want to work a job to make money.
     
  11. Crucified in Christ

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    Absolute heresy...



    ...unless the chicken was fried.
     
  12. sag38

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    Don't you all know that youth are a drain on the budget. They don't give. They take!!!
     
  13. nodak

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    From a church and community I was part of long ago.

    If you are under 55 and think the elderly are a drain on your church, or should serve more, try this:

    Get some high heels 2 sizes too large (men, this includes you) and wear them so you will understand the balance problems of seniors.

    Wrap two layers of quilt batting around every joint--including fingers and toes--and secure with tight ace bandages. Welcome to arthritis.

    Put on heavy ankle and wrist weights, and carry 40 lbs of flour with you everywhere you go. Welcome to diminished muscle strength.

    Set your alarm clock to go off every 2 hours, for a maximum time in bed of 6 hours every night. Welcome to age related sleep problems.

    Wear tinted glasses (but not sun glasses) smeared with vasoline every minute you are awake. Welcome to age related vision problems.

    Wear those ear muff style construction worker hearing protectors and wear a retainer when you eat. Welcome to age related ear and tooth issues.

    Live on 60% of your income.

    Now, when you come to church, get ready, because we are going to let you know mockingly that your beliefs, your tastes, your opinions are worthless. You are going to have no input whatsoever.

    You will, however, be expected to cook for us, to clean for us, to run the nursery and teach the kiddies in Sunday School, and to pay all bills.

    That is what God meant when He told us to honor our fathers and mothers.
     
  14. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    I have to wear high heels to honor my father and mother? My dad would come back from heaven and slap me silly! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  15. SBCPreacher

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    Who said we're to ever retire from the Lords service. God has a great retirement program - when He's done with you, he takes you home! Still breathing - He's not done with you yet. Even if our seniors can do what they used to could do, they can still serve God.
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433
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    It is not called chicken but "gospel bird."
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    There is always within the culture and even in our churches the conflict between older and younger generations. The younger are always looking for the newer, faster, and the better. There can be no doubt that they are, in so many cases, discontent with methods and ways of doing things they saw growing up. The older generation often is working to maintain what they have known for many years, and have seen work hundreds of times over. I have a concern that in so many cases where this conflict of generation’s pops up the older congregants get the short end of the stick, and often without legitimate cause. The fact that the older generations have been serving God faithfully for many years, and have spent more time in scripture than far too many pastors is overlooked.

    Just because differences arise between the generations does not mean the core problem or conflict is a “generational gap”. It just may in fact, at times, be that the new thing being presented is in error and needs to be carefully looked at with older eyes and wisdom. Attaching catch words to new ideas, such as “cultural context”, “progress”, or any number of other words should not immediately give the idea credibility as the right thing to do. I am greatly disturbed at the growing disrespect to our older generation. As of late it seems the younger generations cannot wait for them to go home to heaven so as not to be hindered by them.

    When the church loses its respect for our older members because we cannot get our agenda through then we have lost sight of what a church is as a whole and the church is now a reproach. We need to remember that the word of God speaks favorably of our older generations (Pro 16:31). Maybe we need to spend as much time if not more trying to understand the older generation as we do running out and trying to understand the lost culture. If nowhere else, understanding ought to begin in the church first and foremost even if we “think” the older generation is not trying to understand anyone else.

    We need to recognize that there is a vast difference between a generational gap and carnal minded Christians. The latter come in all sorts of stripes and colors and it is in error to assume the older generation is being carnal minded just because they do not immediately buy into what is new and presented as “culturally relevant”. This “cultural relevance” does more to divide people in our churches than anything else these days. We need to honor our older congregants just as much if not more than the world’s culture. Let’s get back to treating our older congregants with the love and respect they deserve.
     
  18. MNJacob

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    It's never time to retire.

    It's just time to go kill giants!
     
  19. Baptist Believer

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    This is wise and powerful insight.

    Thank you for putting it into words so effectively.


    In my experience, senior adults are like any other group. You'll always have some spiritually-immature complainers who are interested in "their way or the highway."

    But most of the time, I find the senior adults to be the most supportive, least selfish, and most giving portion of the congregation. A few years ago we had a controversy in our church that was, in theory*, based on worship styles.

    The people who were most upset were the 45- to 60-year-olds. The senior adults confessed they really didn't like some of the newer worship songs that were being blended with our hymn service, but they understood that times and tastes change. The seniors were actually the most supportive group for making what many of us believe are important changes in the way our church conducts our ministries.


    * The reality was that worship style was simply a rallying cause for discontented people to rally around. I tried to work as a peacemaker, going around to some of the leaders of the complaining group to find out specifically why they were upset, but not one of them gave me the same answer and they dismissed the answers I received from others. In short, people were just angry that things were not the way they used to be.
     
  20. Robert Snow

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    It sounds like you are in a good church. Be thankful, which I'm sure you are. I wish more churches were like this.

    Our church is mostly older people, but we wouldn't trade it for anything!
     

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