In this concluding part of the series I want to continue to help church leaders in the challenging task of ensuring that all members are achieving their God-given place of service in the local church, particularly, in this context, the older members.

Crowning Years
Recently I attended the thanksgiving service for Alun Davies, a godly church leader whom I loved to visit up to the end of his life in his eighties. Why? Because he reflected and spoke about the wonder and glory of Jesus. He took every opportunity to talk about Jesus, to witness to those he touched, whether a carer who was coming to help look after his wife, June, or a painter who decorated his house. He was one of those I visited to encourage – but left having become the recipient of encouragement rather than the giver!

Alun was living out the teaching of the ministry to older people he and June carried out for many years – Crowning Years. The name came from a prophecy God gave though Alun himself in 1989: “I am bringing into being a new generation of old people who will not carry their years as a burden, but will wear them as a crown”.

I was privileged to speak at Alun’s thanksgiving service and, while preparing, reminded myself from the reports in the Newfrontiers Magazines of the blessings of this ministry. Frequently I read testimonies of people who attended the conferences thinking they had come to the end of their productive lives only to find that God had further work for them through the church. One couple even moved to India to support a church planting initiative!

Ask them
As a church leader I encourage you to see this older generation in a very positive light and to seek God how to tap into the richness of lives well lived. Why not visit them and ask how you can help mobilise them? What are their aspirations? It may take a little time but surely the investment of those hours is worth it – both for you and for them.

Digging into the word
In attending several thanksgiving services recently I noted how some of those we were thanking God for had been actively involved in men’s Bible studies right up to the ends of their lives. What a great way to invest into men! Often men, particularly businessmen, don’t know where they fit in the church. The demands of business life may preclude their availability for mid week meetings etc. But perhaps an early morning Bible study and prayer time, maybe on a Saturday over breakfast, is just what is needed. Who better to lead this than someone who has walked with God for 40, 50, 60… years? And what a way for the life of the church to be deepened.

Conclusion
I have sought to encourage those of senior years to see they still have a role in the church but that you need to take the initiative yourself rather than expect someone to come knocking at your door.

For the church leaders, I want to urge you to recognise that you may have pure gold in your midst and yet you may not have noticed it. Be intentional. Go and mine it for everyone’s good!

For both groups – don’t just read this series and agree or disagree. If you agree do something about it. If you disagree discuss it with someone and find better solutions that match your circumstances.

Don’t just be passive – Go and do it!

 

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