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Role of Seniors in the Church

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Some people are late bloomers, making their greatest accomplishments in the later years in life. Age does not have to be a barrier to success. Allow me to share a few inspiring success stories of great accomplishment achieved by those well beyond 60 years of age.

Although Judi Dench, of 007 fame, had been a stand-out in her work for theatre and TV over her lifetime, she really hit her stride and became a household name in her 60s. To date, Judi has received seven Oscar nominations, all of them past the age of 60. She won the Oscar for “Best Actress in Supporting Role” in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love. She leads all actors for Academy Award nominees older than 60.

Harland Sanders did not start developing Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was in his 60s. Once the Colonel’s brand was developed and growing, he sold it and franchised it in his 70s and lived comfortably for the rest of his years. His chicken is still “finger-licking good.”

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, didn’t start painting until she was 76 years old. When she could no longer hold an embroidery needle due to her arthritis, she decided to give painting a try. Her works were discovered by an art collector who bought her entire collection of paintings and displayed them at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Her popularity and skill are on display in museums all over the world.

What about “Grandpa Moses?” Yes, the Moses of Israel. He was 80 years young when God spoke to him from the burning bush in the desert. Then for the next 40 years he led the children from the clutches of Egypt through the Red Sea and into the desert for an entire generation before turning the reins over to Joshua to complete the mission of taking the people of God into the promised land.

I will be turning 60 in July and can officially get senior discounts. I expect that my body will begin slowing down some, but just like these late bloomers I have shared with you, my work is not over. My good friend Joseph Tkach, who still serves on our GCI Board and offers his wisdom with me as needed, has shared some commonsense wisdom for maturing adults. Here are some highlights of his list.

    • Never go up on the roof of your house
    • Be strategic with your daily steps, and don’t be bullied into thinking you have to do 10,000
    • Unless you were a national contender, NO skateboarding or surfing
    • Don’t go past two steps up on your ladder (use a spotter)
    • Forget about getting a gorgeous suntan (and rethink the beach body)

I hope this gave you a chuckle.

When it comes to the role our senior adults play in the life of our church, we can look at Paul’s instruction in his letter to Titus.

Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance. (Titus 2:2 NRSVA)

Titus was to teach older men about these six qualities that are marks of maturity. In other words, older men are to be wise, loving and balanced; they are to be fully grounded in doctrine and belief. Finally, they are to be a calming, stable factor to their church family.

Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behaviour, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good. (Titus 2:3 NRSVA)

The presence of older, saintly grandmothers can be a real inspiration to the church community and can add credibility and dignity to the testimony of the local church.

The book of Titus reminds older adults to resist the temptations of letting free time become idle, or to de-escalate into the realm of activities of gossip or alcohol abuse. In other words, they are to fight the proclivity to become grumpy, irritable and cynical. (This may be my biggest challenge in my older years.) My goal, however, is with all the other seniors in GCI, that we are known for being patient, gentle and gracious. These traits will win the day as we continue to contribute to the life of our church family.

Please hear me when I say as a senior adult, your work is not finished. You are to be a mentor, a counselor, and instructor for the younger women and men in your church. Use your kindness and wisdom to build these meaningful relationships that allow you to make deposits in the younger generations coming behind. Please also consider how you might use your financial resources to build the church and support the next generation as they continue sharing the good news about Jesus. You can and will make a significant difference!

Joining the Seniors soon,
Greg Williams

11 thoughts on “Role of Seniors in the Church”

  1. Thank so much for those inspiring words. I too am becoming a senior, and as we age, we start to think prematurely that we have aged out of things that were once held by younger minds. God equips us all as he sees fit giving purpose to each of our lives no matter our age. Once again, thank you Dr. Greg for those words of wisdom, and the beautiful scriptures that remind us all that he is still at work in each of us.

    Love & blessings,
    Robin Grant

  2. I echo Robin’s sentiments. Seniors do have an important role to play in church. Pairing experience with youth in a ministerial context is wise. Call it a win/win situation.

    1. As we grow older, I remind myself of a powerful prayer from Les Misérables as sung with accompanying lyrics by Hugh Jackman. You can listen to this prayerful song on YouTube. It’s called BRING HIM HOME. In essence our thoughts begin to turn to our children, grandchildren, and great-children if we are fortunate enough to live beyond our 70’s. It starts out with the words, . . .”God on high hear my prayer” . . .

  3. God is not finished with us yet. I m a senior and was reminded by my physician to take it slow and get up often. I did get a chuckle out of Mr Tkach comments. Soon to be 80 I have to think before I step and turn and I’m truly thankful for all your thought provoking words of encouragement.

  4. Thank you for encouraging and exhorting the seniors in the body of Christ. Apostle Paul recognized the rich potential of the older members of the body and provided teaching which would help them be good examples to others. Those older years come quickly, so fast that we hardly grasp what is happening. I know. In September I will be 73 and my husband Scott will be 72.

  5. Thank you, Greg, for this message! So true. I am just ahead of you in years and still enjoy my job as a teacher! Terry has been busier in “retirement” than ever and enjoying a new found passion with his bowl making. Keep on keeping’ on!

  6. Excellent vision for seniors. Easier on an individual basis, but we are working on the unfolding of it to a congregation of the very elderly

  7. What wonderful things God has planned. Happy birthday Sir and God bless you all.

  8. All great edifying words. We can also remember what Art Linkletter once said, “The senior years are not for sissies “. But they are for gearing up and leaning even more on Paul’s words in Philippians, “I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me”. Maybe it can be viewed as a second wind.

  9. At 76, I thank God every morning when I open my eyes for giving me another day to do his will in my life. Thankfully, GCI gives me many opportunities to serve and be served. I truly can only do all things through Christ who strenghtens me!

  10. Thanks Greg for reminding us seniors there is a place for everyone in the body, and those who have lived longer can be a witness to the faithfulness of God who will never leave us, and we are secure in His Son now and forever! Rm 8:38-39

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