No Age is the Right Age

A veteran pastor, who I very much admire and have grown under, is still serving well into he “retirement” years.  I recently heard from another that he says that, “His generation is the most underutilized generation in the church today.”

It’s a sad statement.  The older generation is to teach the younger, and the younger should be the better for it.

What’s just as sad is that the younger generations are experiencing the same sentiments.  When I was in my 20’s, more often than not I felt that my gifts and vision for the church were not wanted in established churches; that if I wanted to be utilized by the church I had to start a new one on my own.  Some church experiences I had were great.  Others sent the message that the 20’s were to be seen and not heard, and little by little, they therefore failed to be seen.

Now as a 31 year old pastor, some of the same questions still linger.  In the past six months or so, I have had no less than 20 people ask me, “How old are you again?”  They ask with an inquisitive frown as if to say, “Are you sure you’re old enough to be a pastor?”  I’m really not sure how to justify myself.  I really wanted to put my feet up and not work until I turned 40, but I couldn’t figure out how to feed myself and get a girl to marry me without a job, so I went ahead and started working straight out of college.

Are Christian leaders only usable in short decade window of ages 35-45? 

I think the church would do well to learn from the rest of the world in this matter.  Let’s respect wisdom wherever it’s found, and talent wherever it’s emerging.  We cannot afford to limit our talent pool like we are.

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5 responses to “No Age is the Right Age

  1. Brian,

    I had a ‘seasoned’ pastor in the Wisconsin area tell me something very similar a few months ago. He felt that as the surge into older adulthood from the baby boomers takes hold, there will be a huge segment of retired adults who have no place to serve. Hopefully, the church will be able to utilize the gifts, experiences, and ministry of these key people and not relegate them to ‘has-beens’ like the culture does.

    The church is not for the middle-age, but should be for all people. As emerging leaders ourselves, we would do well to help change this way of thinking and operating. We need everyone, from children to the elderly, to take their place in the church.

  2. good question, brian.
    obvioiusly, it is a both and in theory…but in reality, the people in power in the church are going to have the say over who is engaged and serving….whether it be the older generation, or the younger. somehow we have to teach the value of valuing people for the gifts and talents, and not their age or experience. i had a 25 year old CFA for a small company in one of my churches and the “old guard” on the Finance Team would not let him lead because he was too young…i began right then to recruit and attempt to install 20 something leaders in the church.

  3. How old are you again?

    According the Ray Vanderlaan, the whole church we serve in was led in the first century by guys much younger than you.

  4. Lumpy, great point by Ray Vanderlaan! That’s really important to keep in mind.

    Matt, David, and Lumpy, thanks for pushing for some form of balance. I think God will gain greatest honor when we learn to manage contributions from everyone.

  5. Pingback: Two Halves to Life | Root48

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