What Christians of “A Certain Age” Should Never Do

middle age mosaic-takomabibelotLast May I joined a vibrant, growing church in the Chicago suburbs, one very different from the mega-church I had served in for the prior 25 years.

The pastoral staff at my new church is young (by that I mean, the lead pastor is in his early 30s, and he’s the oldest of the bunch). They are all filled with passion, energy, and Godly wisdom that inspires me every time I interact with them. Theirs is the generation taking the Church into the next grand chapter and it’s crazy exciting to be a part of it.

For people like me, who’ve served in the church for most of our lives, there’s a bit of risk here. I could look around at all the 20-somethings in the congregation and instead of thinking, “This is crazy exciting to be a part of!”, I could be tempted to stand on the sidelines and cheer while this energetic staff and congregation carry the ball the rest of the way down the field. Yay, them.

How unfortunate that would be for everyone involved ! And how contrary to the design of God for His body.

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5

Being a part of this young church has awakened new purpose and joy in me and has infused my spiritual life with renewed meaning and hope. I’m regularly inspired, enlightened, valued, and loved.

With that in mind, here are 10 things I’d like to suggest we Christians of “a certain age” should never do:

  1. Minimize our value to the church because the people we see “upfront” are under 35.
  2. Resist learning from the “youngsters” because we’re “old enough to be their Dad/Mom!”
  3. Overlook genuine friendships with younger people, friendships that are life-giving and real.
  4. Fail to recognize our potential as mentors to growing and/or new Christians.
  5. Limit our volunteer activities to only what is within our comfort zone.
  6. Fail to recognize new ministry opportunities that emerge from our professional and life experiences.
  7. Push back on the energy and inspiration of the worship segment because it doesn’t include “enough” old hymns.
  8. Use the word “just” as an excuse not to participate: “I’m just a retiree”, “I’m just an empty-nester”, “I’m just a middle-aged man/woman”.
  9. Make assumptions about the abilities and value of others in our own age range because of our personal insecurities.
  10. Give up before God is done with us.

God is letting us in on the incredible process of carrying on His work. As a part of His Body, we not only get to watch and be amazed, we get to play an important role, no matter what our age or stage in life.

What would you add to this list?

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Image attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/takomabibelot/1387587933/

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

26 thoughts on “What Christians of “A Certain Age” Should Never Do”

  1. I am so very thankful to have you in our church! You’ve been such a blessing to me already. It’s so encouraging to have people of all different ages gather together, united by a love of the gospel.

    1. Ah, Jill, I’m definitely a member of your fan club. I so enjoy your writing, your humility, your humor, and your wisdom as a “mom of many”. What an inspiration you are. Thanks for commenting here!

  2. So beautifully said Diane! We have learned and grown so much by beating a part of this amazing church as well and you are such a wonderful addition. So thankful for the gifts and talents you bring and blessed we all are by you!

    1. Thanks, Bethany – you crack me up. Balmy in Chicago in January *ahem*? I’m guessing you have some ocean front property in Wyoming to sell me, too. I promise to come back; I miss you, too!

  3. Great post. This semester I’m teaching undergraduates. I usually teach second career types, and it is a steep learning curve. We have so much to share with each other, but as you note, you have to be willing to bend, confident enough to give, and appropriately humble.

    1. Thanks, Denise. That mix of ages, talents, and wisdom makes for an interesting (and more effective) concoction. And hey, if we can wrangle mules, we can do most anything, right? 😉

  4. I stumbled on your blog while doing a Google image search. Where did the middle aged man mosaic image come from? Who is the artist? Where is this piece?
    Thanks!

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