When we think about senior adults who attend church, here a few things to remember. These are general statements, but you will find it true in many churches and I'm sure you can resonate with it.
Senior adults who attend church are faithful. You can count on them being consistent.
Senior adults normally love the music style they grew up with in church.
Senior adults are more conservative than younger generations.
Senior adults give consistently. Their tithes are usually a big part of a church budget.
Senior adults know their Bible. They have decades of reading and studying the Word of God.
Senior adults bring wisdom and discernment to the table. This comes from simply doing life and learning along the way.
Senior adults are often the spiritual leader in their family.
Senor adults can bring so much to the table. It's important to listen to them and love them.
A healthy family is comprised of all generations. Babies. Children. Pre-teens. Middle-schoolers. High-schoolers. Young adults. Parents. Grandparents.
And so a healthy children's ministry is made up of all these generations as well.
That being said, when you get family together, you will have different tastes of music, different ways of doing church, different ideas, philosophies and different values.
Senior adults have two choices. They can try to preserve the way they have always done church and are comfortable with. Or they can set aside their preferences so they can more effectively pass on the baton of faith to the generations coming behind them.
I have seen this lived out. One of the churches I served at was growing and thriving. I found out one of the big reasons why. Several years ago, they had come to the point where they realized they needed to transition the church to a more modern, relevant format. It was a critical time when the senior adults had to decide if they were going to preserve the past or move forward. Were they going to set aside some of their preferences so the next generation would feel connected?
Soon after, the chairman of the church elder board was sitting on the front row in the worship service. The music was loud and it wasn't his style of music. As he was looking around, especially at his grandchildren, he whispered to the pastor, "This is not my style of music and it is loud to me. But I'm looking over at my kids and grandkids and they are engaged and are worshiping. I'm going to lay aside my preferences so I can effectively pass the baton to them.
If you are reading this and you are a senior adult, turn and look behind you. The next generation needs you to speak into their lives and invest in them spiritually. They are counting on you to pass them the faith baton.
If you are a younger generation, honor the senior adults in your church. Cherish their faithfulness and wisdom. Learn from them. And reach across the aisle and help them see why change is a key part of a successful faith baton hand-off.
If you are a senior adult, are you willing to set aside some of your preferences so your church can see the faith continue to thrive in the years to come? Will you leave a legacy for the generations behind you?