Role of Seniors in the Church
June 30, 2021
From the President
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.
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 NRSV)
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 NRSV)
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,