It has been very difficult for me to see the changes that many churches have initiated, especially as related to the “older” generation. Those that have been with their local church for decades are seeing a definite change, not only affecting their worship experience but their active participation in church related activities. There are many issues that need to be addressed, but this article is not so much about the “climate” in the church as it is with the people that are caught up in a time warp.
I believe pastors have a responsibility to the total “flock” and not just the lambs. As the older sheep are coming closer to having their “coats” removed and a new Heavenly body is given, they need to be ministered to and appreciated. The future of the church is with the younger generation, but the stability of these churches rests with the veterans of the faith. Over the past few months, I have visited many churches and seen the “tiered” levels of participation. I saw older adults trying to participate in a worship experience that was so unfamiliar to them. They stood for long periods of time trying to enter into a “different” type of worship through modern expression. Even some of the sermons seemed to cater to social issues with little relevance to them. Many have given up carrying Bibles, for any Scriptures that might be used in the sermon, are put up on the screen. The “lost generation” has tried to interrelate with the “new generation,” but have found it more and more difficult to fit in.
What options are available to those of the forgotten generation? For many they have been part of their local church since they were children. To pull up stakes and search for another church would be a traumatic experience. They could drop out of the church they loved, but their generation was never quitters. So faced with the reality that change is not a possibility, they sit in their pews trusting that the Lord will never forsake them.
I believe that pastors need to realize that if it were not for the faithfulness of their older constituents, the church they shepherd might not be here today. Pastors need to lift up the veterans of the Faith. They need them to help the younger people in their spiritual journeys. After all, many of them have gone through almost every challenge that the younger generation is facing. Much of the wisdom today sits stagnant in the pews. Pastors need to realize that many of the “lost generation” can be a great asset to their ministry.
Pastors need to always seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance when it comes to preaching. It is not what he wants, rather what God wants! The Gospel message is for all the people, and that includes the seniors. May the day come when the term “lost generation” is no longer relevant, for all Believers, no matter their age, are important to the body of Christ.
(NOTE: THERE ARE CHURCHES THAT MINISTER TO ALL GENERATIONS WITH ZEAL AND LOVE FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL. I REJOICE FOR THOSE CHURCHES THAT TREAT ALL THEIR PEOPLE WITH THE SAME INTEREST AND COMMITMENT.)