Does age itself qualify or disqualify anyone from serving Jesus?
I don't think any of us would answer that question "yes" outright. But if we look around our churches, I bet we'd all discover some unspoken conditions to that "yes". Depends on the type of service. Depends on the audience. Depends on the skills required. It turns out that there's a lot of work within and beyond the church that tends to marginalize two groups in particular: the young and the old. And whether we actually exclude them or not, we often communicate that they are unwanted.
Last week I had the privilege of meeting with Wes and Judy Wick for coffee at Fuller. They run a ministry called YES: Young Enough to Serve, created to energize folks in the second half of life for service to the church and world. This week I am meeting with Ward Tanneberg of the CASA Network (Christian Association Serving Adult Ministries) about a series of events for those who minister among adults in mid-life and beyond. The vision is to harness the findings from our Sticky Faith work as a way to energize and mobilize adults to invest in the lives of young people.
This video put together by YES is a revealing look at what happens in the church for folks over 60. Whatever your age, and whatever the age of those you serve, you need to watch this. Then find someone over 60 and talk with them about what you can do to engage the Teds in your congregation! Who's Ted? From the introduction:
Ted is 63. You may already know him. Ted may even attend your church.Every day for the next couple decades more than ten thousand Americans turn Ted's age.