What if older Christians

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    really did just walk away from the churches they have been part of for years?

    What if, when someone younger decided the older members should now turn over the reins to the younger folks and shut up, or decided to "let the churches doing what the older folks want just die", the older folks got fed up and just left?

    Obviously they could start new churches and not let the younger folks join :)

    But seriously, what if everyone over 60 took their tithe, their time, and their talent out of these churches that the younger ones seem to think should be turned over to them? How long would or could they last?

    Would this improve the cause of Christ any?

    There seems to be a stream of very vitriolic ageism that want to be handed thriving churches with nice buildings right out of seminary. Or they are laymen saved all of maybe 15 minutes who are now going to tell the seasoned saints how stupid and useless they are.

    I would encourage the babes in Christ to consider what their church would look like without anyone over 60 participating and donating.
     
  2. Thousand Hills

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    Membership tenure doesn't equate to spiritual maturity, it should but it's not a given. I just left a church where the husband and wife longest time members were the grouchiest, most hateful, trouble making pair you'd ever meet. If they were what a "Christian" should look like I want no part of it.

    I'm 35, I'll gladly submit to leadership of older brethren if they are modeling Titus 2 and other scriptural commands. But, again just because someone is older doesn't mean they are necessarily more mature spiritually.

    A healthy church should reflect its community. An area of Florida comprised of retirement villages would likely have a higher average congregational age. A dying coal town up in VA/WV, where there were limited economic opportunities for the younger generation would likely also have a higher average congregational age. But in a vibrant growing town or city there is no excuse for a church to have an average age of 65+.

    A church is not a building, its God's called out ones. They will enjoy each other's fellowship regardless of how much is in the offering plate, regardless of whether or not the carpet is a little dated. They are bound by their commonality in Christ. The world wants to divide, but only Christ can unite. Doesn't matter if its a brick building with a nicely manicured lawn, an old warehouse, or a space in a retail strip center. God's people will want to be together with God's people.

    The cause of Christ is the cause of Christ, he will not fail. He is not sitting around wringing his hands in heaven worrying about what the future holds. By his grace and his mercy he has called us to be a part of his work. Any local church young or old that is living for itself (the here and now, nickels and noses) is dead weight.

    I enjoy your posts, but for some reason your whole point seems to be coming back around to money. "He who has the Gold Makes the Rules"?

    As a young man I desire to be mentored by those older than me who have walked faithfully with Christ for many years, who will teach sound doctrine, and love me enough to tell me when I'm being arrogant or overreacting. Respect is due to this class of older Christian. Its not due to someone just because they've been a long time member or put the most money in the offering plate. I have no stomach for spending my time, talents, or money supporting a social club.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    It is not ab out age. It is about an unbiblical unwllingness to change methods.
     
  4. nodak

    nodak
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    Sorry if I wasn't clear. First off, money does pay the bills. So if a group of people provide the money that pays the bills AND believe the services are being done in a Biblically correct manner, why should they be seen as stubborn for refusing to change it?

    Let me give you an example I have watched, part of the time as a member and part of the time having changed to a healthier Baptist church.

    At the unhealthy one, the core was people ranging from mid 30's to mid 60's. It was a small but stable church effectively reaching a small but stable community. An oil boom happened and that church needed a new pastor about the same time. (Previous one left for a larger church that had called him.) The new pastor came aboard and things went well for a year or two. Then he MISREAD what Purpose Driven is all about. (Let's not debate that program. Enough to say it was not applied as written.) New pastor decided to move the church toward "our target demographic is under 60." That did indeed mean a major shift in methods. Much of what you can read from some even here on BB was what came out of his mouth as to older people needing to send in their tithes but get out of the way and let the younger folks lead. We left when we overheard him tell first time visitors clearly over 60 that "we welcome you today but this will not be a good fit for you should you be looking for a church home." We were not over 60 ourselves, but didn't care for the self righteous attitude of the 40 or so new pastor.

    Fast forward a few years: the oldsters that founded the church finally had enough and left. The younger set he was courting were moved on in the next oil boom. The church is now struggling to keep open week to week, the "new" pastor is now fast approaching 60 himself, and instead of being a mixed age range as it was before his tenure, it is now mostly baby boomers.

    So let me rephrase a bit: if a church is dispensational, why should the senior saints shut up and fall in line if a younger group of Calvinists wants to run it? Or if it is a Calvinist church and a younger bunch of free will Baptists want to take over? Or if they do contemporary music and some newly minted return to the hymns of the 1500's want to take over, who made them rulers? Or if it is a hymn, camp meeting, country and western, or whatever church and the newbies want contemporary?

    I strongly believe in a healthy church, issues of theology and method will indeed come up. I don't believe it is ever healthy to have the attitude that everything that has gone before has been "wrong" and the older saints need to stifle. Rather, in a healthy church the different groups can present their thoughts, desires, needs, and preferences. All the different groups can discuss it and come to a consensus.

    But sometimes, if the older (in terms of membership, not necessarily age) members have strong reservations regarding any given change, there may be a valid reason. An example would be that it might be a strongly Calvinist church and simply....not....willing to embrace dispensationalism. They wouldn't be refusing it because it is "new" but because they believe it unbiblical.

    That same thought process may preclude other changes, be it music or service style or times, etc. What to the change agent seems stubborn refusal to consider anything new may not be. It may be that the new agenda has been considered and rejected for carefully thought out reasons of conscience.

    Which brings us back to the point: if as a younger believer or member you believe everything a church is doing is wrong, speak up. BUT if your ideas are rejected, understand you are free to go start another church. What is not cool at all is to make statements like "they need to had the reins to us" or "let them die--they deserve it" or "they are sinfully stubborn for not doing things my way."

    Older members can be set in their ways and grouchy. But know what? Younger members can be set in THEIR ways and grouchy too.
     
  5. Luke2427

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    I agree.

    I think one of the errors we make is that we think, generally speaking, that the call to preach is the call to go pastor established churches.

    I think, generally speaking, the call to preach is the call to go and plant new churches.

    It appears in Titus and Timothy that the early churches were expected to be deep enough, dedicated enough, etc... to produce their OWN leaders. Not import them from seminaries or other churches.

    And these churches run largely by old folks ARE dying. 3,500 close their doors every year.

    Rather, though, than a young man trying to resurrect a dying church, he'd be wiser to go and birth a new church.

    Let the old folks who will not release the reins have them- and EVERYBODY will be happier.

    Because the good news is, accordign to Ed Stetzer, that, though 3,500 churches are closing their doors every year, 4,000 new plants are arising in this country every year.

    The way to do away with churches that are in the way of progress is to leave them to themselves. Let them dry up and die. Plant new ones.
     
  6. Thousand Hills

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    I was probably reading in too much. My apologies. I think Luke brought up a good point relevant to the intent of your post. Revitalize or Church Plant?

    http://www.9marks.org/journal/pros-and-cons-planting-and-revitalizing
     
  7. righteousdude2

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    I had this happen!

    But it was just the opposite. My first church was mostly older peoeple ... in fact I did more funerals than weddings while there. Once young people started coming in and proving themselves by arriving early and setting up chairs in the fellowship hall, and stayed late to clean up and the wife's sent the older ladies out to visit while they washed dishes, and they mowed the lawns and fixed the roofs, etc. It came time to vote some of them into minor leadership roles, but the old folks were angry and opposed the new people coming in on the boards and serving as Deacons, because, well ... they were tooooooo young!

    This didn't drive the young families off, but it caused a strin between the old, set in their way members and the younger folks. And some of these folks were more than qualified to be in higher positions than what they were up for, and when it came to giving they had the ability to give well, as they were not on Social Security!

    So, this happens, and it is a real shame!

    I should say, that ten years after that church, I had a similar thing happen in another small, older people church!

    There was also the time I was hired, part time, to preach at a seasonal snpwbird church, and on my first Sunday, If I heard it once, I heard it twenty times, "Oh my, you are so young?"

    Yes I was 49 years old. But after a few sermons, they saw that younth (LOL) had their good points! :laugh:
     
  8. Luke2427

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    Yes, I have seen this very thing in many churches myself (churches I have personally pastored, and my friends have pastored or attended and heard about from many others).

    There is an arrogance in some old people that drives them to resist young people who they tend to think are beneath them.

    They boast about "in my day," but unless they are above 80 years old "their day" was not that great.

    Their day gave us hippies and Woodstock and significant increase in STD's, divorce, teen pregnancy, drugs became an epidemic, spit on soldiers returning from war, lost prayer in schools, legalized abortion, etc, etc, etc...

    Yet they think young folks in their 20's and 30's come from a tainted generation and they want little to nothing to do with them.

    They try to cast the mote out of young people's eyes while their own eyes are bursting with beams.

    Now, of course this is not every old person below 80 (I keep mentioning that because I tend to think that the WWII generation was our finest- at least in the last 100 years). There are plenty of fine old folks in their 60's and 70's.

    But, I think it is clear that it is a general rule.

    So the solution is to stop trying to work with these people. Stop trying to resurrect their dying churches.

    Plant new ones.

    New church plants that survive those most perilous first few years are doing quite well in this country.

    Churches where the average age is 60 or above are drying up and dying.

    Let them. They want to be left alone. Leave them alone. Let them die.

    Some new church plant in the community can buy the old building when it is finally up for sale.

    Everybody wins.

    The stubborn old folks (again, not all old folks- just the ones who fit this bill) get their way and have their churches to themselves. The passionate young folks don't waste their time and energy trying to work with them and they get to get their facilities in a few years.

    Everybody wins.
     
    #8 Luke2427, Mar 31, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2014
  9. Revmitchell

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    Agism is a false accusation based on a need to sensationalize the issue due to a lack of understanding or an unwillingness to deal honestly with the issue.
     
  10. Luke2427

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    Or it is based on facts.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    Or not...........
     
  12. Luke2427

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    The idea that there are not generational ideology and behavioral gaps is absurd.

    People in their 60's and 70's tend to think and behave very differently from folks in their 20's and 30's.

    They have different life philosophies and worldviews.

    Those things permeate the way they "do church."
     
    #12 Luke2427, Mar 31, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2014
  13. Revmitchell

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    I never said there wasn't. In fact I am convinced there are. But that is not about age it is about personal choices and preferences.

    We need to strike a balance in our churches. There is a church in Florida that brought in a new young pastor and the church ended up running off the enitre elderly congregation.

    There is a right way to do everything. The problem is those older folks who have been the solid support for years are in fact more often then not holding the church back and killing it.

    When we bring in new converts to the church it takes anywhere from 1 to 5 years to get them to become just as solid. And that is if the church is doing all it needs to do in discipleship. In the mean time the older congregation is dying off. If their departure is faster than what we are bringing in then the church dies and puts the building up for sale.


    We all need to be able to adjust and change for the Kingdoms sake. The younger generation is not going to come churches that are doing things the way so much of our older generation wants it to remain.

    This issue is not about age. It is about an unwillingness to be Kingdom minded and flexible as Paul was:

    1Co_9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    Our older generations have become stale and stagnet and are holding our churches back. Age is not the issue.

    But it does not surprise me that you support a sensationalistic idea like this. It is your MO

    It is unusual for nodak
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    And what generation is writing the checks?
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    That is right they are writing the checks now. But unless we reproduce ourselves and prepare to bring in the next generation they will be the ones who are writing the checks right up to the point the church doors close.

    Anyone who thinks the services should be all about one generation or another is only selfish. We need to strike a balance in a way the provides for the future of the church as well as what is going on right now.
     
  16. Luke2427

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    I agree.

    .. except for the sensationalist thing.

    What is sensational about what I said?
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    What is sensationalistic is the accusation of agism.
     
  18. nodak

    nodak
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    Again, much misreading.

    This may be a matter of geography, but where I live those new church plants generally die within 6 months.

    We have established churches doing church a variety of ways. Our longest living churches reaching the most younger people are churches pastored and "run" by people in their 60's and 70's. We have a strong independent Baptist church run by the younger set (40ish pastor) attracting younger adults (mostly 20ish). You think you have stepped into the 1930's when you step into that church.

    Some of the replies on this thread point up exactly what I am saying. It is myth that older people have nothing but money to contribute. It is myth that all the churches attracting younger adults have changed to letting the younger adults run the church. It is myth that the only churches dying are those doing things "the old way" and that all those new church plants are vital, alive, and successful churches.

    My prayer is that we lay those myths to rest. Yes, in some parts of the country you won't attract younger people unless you do a highly Calvinistic service with hymns from the 1500's. In other parts of the country you won't attract them unless you are doing the skinny jeans-pop psychology-contemporary service. My neck of the woods, a good country western music service with a short cowboy sermon attracts them.

    But do you ever ask what attracts a lost 80 year old, soon to face hell? Or those not in the upwardly mobile young adult demographic? What reaches our gang bangers? Our working poor?

    For that matter, why do we focus on attracting ANY demographic group IF to do so we have to compromise what we believe is right?

    Why are we not focusing on seeing the lost saved and the saved discipled, regardless of age. Would that not better serve the cause of Christ?

    Why not actually LISTEN to the older Christians, rather than blowing them off with denigrating statements? Some of you, if you had a good relationship with your grandparents, might reread some of the posts putting down older members and substitute your own grandparents names and faces.

    Really? Can you imagine the pain you cause when you blame all that goes wrong on the older folks who's blood sweat and tears built the church?

    Let me suggest this: despite all the rhetoric out there, we have a Lord Who told us to go and preach the Word and make disciples. He also warned us we would not be popular in doing so. No generation has ever had it easy in winning the lost. In past generations you may have more of the lost in church, but it was still tough. We've BEEN FOCUSED since the 1960's on winning the younger folks to Christ. We've failed, and that miserably. What makes us think more of that focus will succeed?

    Why not go forth as Spurgeons or Wesleys and preach the gospel to ALL people, letting them know up front church is not about their "felt needs" or their "youth culture" or "senior culture" but about Jesus Christ and Him crucified?

    Why not acknowledge church isn't about age, or culture, or style but about serving Christ as opposed to being served by experts there to make your experience pleasurable?
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    No one said that.

    Again no one said that. More sensationalism.

    That is not what was said either, it is not the only ones but all of that are stuck in the "old ways" are all dying and will die. Nothing myth about that.
     
  20. Luke2427

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    I'm not sure if I am one of the people to whom you are responding with this post, but, if you are, please note that I acknowledged that the new church plants doing well in this country are the ones who make it out of those first few most perilous years.

    Most church plants do close up shop within the first few years and that is perfectly ok. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Planting a new church is an ambitious endeavor and it is always a long shot. That somebody tried to do so, if their motives were right, is highly commendable. He knew beforehand the likelihood of the endeavor being a success was small. Yet, he tried anyway.

    The only way to fill the country with new churches is to have an extraordinary number of new church plants fail.

    But if we can plant, say 4,000, and 1,500 of those become vibrant churches- EXCELLENT! The cost of the 2,500 "failures" is a small price to pay.

    I agree, but the best we can do here is speak in generalities.

    A subject like this is not going to allow for monolithic claims.

    There are going to be many exceptions.

    The best we can do is speak to the general rule.

    I think the general rule is that churches with the average age of 60 or higher are dying and not open to the needed changes to revive them.

    There is a need to address all of these issues and plant churches to minister to every demographic.


    Inside the church that is exactly all we should focus on. But our outreach has to take into consideration these other things.

    I don't think any of us do not listen to them. But when the church is, and has been for quite a while, dying on their watch and they are not willing to change- we can't just acquiesce to their every whim.

    And I had an EXTRAORDINARY relationship with my grandparents. I had, it is probably not an overstatement, an inordinate love for my grandparents.

    But, they were from that great WWII generation that I think excels every other generation in the past 100 years.

    The struggles we are having today are with the children of that generation.

    Well, in a church like ours, it was not these folks who built it. They inherited it from their parents or grandparents whose sweat, blood and tears built it.

    On their watch, it has been in decline.
     

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