I (Leanne) recently chatted with Sue Wells, who is wife of David, the superintendent of PAOC. Sue was facing a "big birthday" (Happy Birthday Sue!) and asking herself what will this next phase look like for her. She told me that many of her peers are declaring "it was their turn"...after serving in the church for decades. Her peers were disengaging at alarming rates. This is a new and somewhat troubling cultural development.
I loved Sue's understanding on this...rather than it now being "her time", it was a time to stay engaged, "building new pathways instead of collecting moss".
ZOE Projects needs women of ALL AGES engaged. God can use you and some of your most productive moments are right around the corner! Thanks Sue for the encouragement!
by Sue Wells
My friend’s mother is a little vain, with surgical procedures to prove it.
Flattered when a granddaughter asked to apply makeup on her grandma’s face, she wondered as the youngster proceeded with a “pat, pat pat, pat” across her cheeks and forehead. “Dear, whatever are you doing?” “Filling in the cracks, Grandma!”
Not everything about older is better. April 8th, I turned sixty.
It’s freaky, because I’m reminded of what that meant growing up.
Despite efforts to ensure that it’s different for me, my body mocks that sixty isn’t always “the new forty.”
Life doesn’t look the same for Baby Boomers.
In just one generation, we’ve witnessed some of the greatest cultural changes in history.
Not only do we think and act differently, we have the physical and financial capabilities to indulge in endless leisurely pursuits.
The church hasn’t been immune to these unsettling changes, and we’re talking way more than music. When I was growing up, every generation was present in my life.
Youth meetings were boosted when parents cheered us on.
From teaching Sunday School to praying with me at the altar, seniors seemed to minister til they died.
To be fair, the challenge today is that many traditional areas of volunteering look different or have disappeared. As well, reaching our communities involves less of talents like singing, teaching, or ministries done in the context of a church service.
In the old days, it seemed you did what you were good at forever.
No one reassessed with, “What’s next?”
Is the next generation getting that same mentoring or, rather, is the empty nest is too often translating into the empty pew?
And what kind of legacy are we leaving for our grandchildren?
Christianity for Grandma = The Good Life?
And we wonder why they’re bored with the church!
In my younger years I was cautioned not to be “worldly.”
I’m waaay too old to be indulging in some of the activities that admonishment suggested!
But, how does that principle apply today?
Check out any ad for “Zoomers,” and the spirit of our age is beckoning with, “It’s… Your… Turn!”
Many Christians are falling for that temptation with a new mantra: “I’ve done my part.”
(I question, “Did God tell you that?”)
Admittedly, I can enjoy shallow!
But are today’s entitlements all that the Lord has in store for me?
Do I have the option to check out because, “It’s someone else’s turn?”
I’m countering with, NO!
To clarify, God’s call is not limited to a church building or its programs.
Luke 1 shares the account of Elizabeth, a senior who had seemingly missed her mission.
By not measuring up, she endured the pain of public ridicule.
Privately, she bore the heartache of unanswered prayer.
Because she’d been ready for a miracle, Elizabeth was prepared for a life change.
Besides raising John, who would prepare the way for Jesus, God had a second call.
“Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.”
No one visits that long!
I’m guessing Mary had to get out of town to escape the ridicule that comes with judgement. (In my day, pregnant girls went to “visit” an aunt.)
Who could’ve been more prepared to mentor Mary than Elizabeth?
A lifetime of setbacks had equipped her to provided affirmation (“I’m calling you blessed”), refuge, and Godly advice about how to handle trials. She may have looked older, but Elizabeth hadn’t grown old.
If you’ve been feeling without purpose:
with someone who’s kept their “first love.”
the Lord, your pastor, a ministry (like Zoe Projects) for any humble way to serve.
your heart with friends and together live out the Elizabeth model.
We won’t gather moss, but rather, pave paths.
Whether we minister in the Lord’s house or our living room, publicly or privately, we will live supernaturally natural (not forgetting to indulge in a bit of fun now and then).
And we’ll not be done either until we’re dead!