7 Ways to Involve Older People in Your Church

Chuck Lawless is Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary.
Chuck Lawless is Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary.

I'm not that old – I'm 54 – but I increasingly realize that I'm not young, either. Sometimes I, too, long for what I thought were the "good old days." At the same time, I realize the importance of being involved in a local church today.

I may not speak for all older folks, but here's how you could get me more involved in your church's ministry:

1. Understand that I'm not opposed to change.

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I'm honestly not. I may not like change, but it's more because everything seems to be changing than it is my opposition to church change. Help me understand the change, and I'll be with you. What I'm opposed to is change that's not well thought out.

2. Ask me to serve.

Sometimes it easy for me to think I'm not as needed as I used to be. I realize the church needs younger leadership at some point, and I don't want to get in the way of that transition. I'll help in any way I can, but you may need to recruit me directly.

3. Trust me with some of your prayer concerns. 

Some of us have spent decades trying to figure out how to pray, and many of us have more time than others to pray. I want to pray specifically and intentionally for you as my spiritual leaders. Share a bit of your heart with me, and I'll be on board with you.

4. Invite me to join you on a ministry visit.

I know that would take more of your time, but I'd be genuinely honored to assist you. If I can, I'll even clear my calendar to help you. I've been around long enough to know not to take your invitation lightly.

5. Keep reminding me that you want to reach my kids and grandkids.

I want them to be faithful to God, yet I don't always have the answers to lead them. They really are a different generation. If you can help me figure out how to help them walk with God, I'll be willing to overlook little things that tend to bug me.

6. Help me understand that younger folks really do want older folks in their lives.

I'm learning that young people understand the importance of cross-generational relationships much better than my generation has. They even like to listen to my stories about black-and-white TV's, dot matrix printers, and computer modems that sounded like an airplane. Connect me with young people who like to hang out with me, and I'll have new life in church.

7. If you're a church planter, recruit me.

I'd want you to talk to my pastor also, but you might find that I'm praying about and looking for a new adventure. The older I get, the more I want to make sure I'm maximizing my gifts for the kingdom. I can tell you for certain that I'll be your friend if we're walking together for God's glory.

Older folks, what would you add? Younger readers, what do you think? Let us hear from you.

 This article was originally posted here

Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

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