Dennis Rainey says, “It’s time for a new order of noble, life-seasoned men to courageously arise, strip away encumbrances, and do battle on behalf of their children, grandchildren, communities, and nation. God created men not to rust out but to wear out as they stretch out toward the finish line.”
We’ve all heard, “This message is for young people,” countless times at conferences and in our home assemblies. This investment in the future is both responsible and necessary. However, I would like to specifically address older Christians. Over the past nine years I’ve counseled countless teens as a part of my full-time job, but also worked as an adjunct graduate professor at a local university. These experiences, as well as time spent investing in today’s young men and women, have taught me that older Christians are extremely valuable. We need a past generation to continue investing in the future. Allow me to suggest five important contributions that senior Christians can make to fulfill a critical need among young believers.
PRAY FOR US: We need you to mention us specifically, by name, in prayer. You may not be able do as much as you used to, but we are dealing with issues and facing giants that can only be fixed with God’s intervention. Please intercede for us!
ENCOURAGE US: There’s a lot in this world that is cause for discouragement and depression. Sometimes an assembly setting can be challenging and difficult as well. We need older men and women to spend some time with us and build us up. We need to be encouraged to do the right thing, even when it’s not easy. We know we make a lot of mistakes but it’s edifying to hear about what we did right, even when it’s not perfect. Rebukes are important, but it takes wisdom to know how to issue them with tact.
MENTOR US: We need to be reminded that you have been down this road before. Even though pressures came from different places, and in different ways, the temptations are still the same. You can speak wisdom into our situation and give us hope. We need your suggestions, input, and advice. We want and need someone to whom we can look.
MODEL FOR US: We need to see what holiness and reality look like. We need to be reminded about things like consistency (faithfulness), responsibility, and living out our faith. Show us what it’s like to be godly, spiritual, and what the fruit of the Spirit looks like in real life.
KNOW YOURSELF: We need older Christians to know when to pass on the torch or step down from leadership roles. We need to be challenged and pushed in order to grow ourselves. Sometimes that’s hard to do with limited opportunities. We also need you to do your best to be aware of modern culture and social norms. We understand you might not have Facebook or Snapchat but in order to influence us you need to be relevant and understanding.
Finally, thanks for what you’ve done and for the person you are. Remember the work of a patriarch is never done. We need you now more than ever.