Recent YES! Blog Posts and Earlier Favorites
Our retirement culture has a tight grip on some folks, and it's a mindset that has been allowed to germinate for years, often unchallenged by the Church.
With our focus on serving, we're often tempted to poke fun at the leisure lifestyle. But we're aware that real ministry and life impact can also take place within that context.
Three quick lessons as the madness of March swirls around us:
- Let's value older adult potential within the Church, not just in presidential politics.
- Let's treat the second half like it really matters.
- Let's engage a full court press, with help from all generations.
We can’t help but reflect on how healthy a ministry, church, or family can look when we stand together in unity. We may singularly feel inadequate, but when enough of us Charlie Browns get together, look out! We’ve got something beautiful.
I confess that I had some doubts as I looked up at those high-hanging persimmons. Had I waited too long? Will the fruit still be good? Will the risk of climbing a tall ladder be worth it, or will I just be pursuing worthless, mushy, overripe fruit?
We know some folks in their later seasons of life seem destined to die fruitless, never discovering their greater purpose in life. Sadly, perhaps we and other leaders aren't expecting anything special to emerge from their lives. Their spiritual fruit-bearing potential hasn't even crossed our minds. But they, like our late-blooming persimmons, deserve our attention, affirmation and investment.
It's our passion to see generations connect in more meaningful ways. Younger and older, polar opposites, moving from avoidance or dutiful tolerance to hearts that deliberately engage and love those at the opposite end of the age spectrum.
On over-waiting for the right moment, we love the advice of Seth Godin:
You might be waiting for things to settle down. For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little...
The thing is, people who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive. Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess and during a blizzard. Whenever. As long as whenever is now.
We have an unsettled feeling about time and gravity subtracting from our physical height.
We see many Christian adults also settling for less spiritually in their later years.
Some may argue that adults in retirement are entitled to settle for less important aspirations. While our physical stature may lose an inch or two, we believe God calls us to keep growing and moving in our spiritual aspirations. And what could be more invigorating than following His desires for us!
You’ve probably seen the Geico commercial, pointing out that Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker. His nose grows as he points to a lackluster gentleman in the audience and declares, “You have potential.”
When we talk about the untapped serving potential of older adults, we know some folks probably expect our noses to start growing as we speak.
We recognize the reality that most adults will face significant physical challenges as they grow older, and practically many serving “projects” grow out of reach.
But we also know spiritual strength can gush like a geyser in older hearts conspiring with God.
We do want to be good stewards of our time, and we won’t give up on efficiency. But we want to be careful too that we’re not shielding ourselves from important opportunities to share Christ’s love with people in a more personal way.
Truth is, we’re not designed to live for extended periods of time without responsibility. What appears pretty inviting and life giving can end up becoming burdensome and unhealthy when overextended---especially when separated from active listening for the Lord’s continued guidance.
E.B. White described the Mayday!/May Day push and pull this way:
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
Why not do both? Go out with joy and improve your world! :)
Part of our mission is making sure the outfield stays in the game. Think about it. How would your favorite team fare if we eliminated the outfield positions?
They may get lucky, survive, or even thrive an inning or two without a ball going beyond the infield. But chances are good they’d soon discover how necessary these players are, both on the field and at the plate.
Is there anything inherently wrong with lopsidedness? As long as people are getting saved and nurtured in their faith, shouldn't generationally lopsided churches be celebrated? So what's the big deal if our canoes tip dramatically to the side of a particular age group? 'Whatever floats your boat', right?
Let's take our punching gloves off for a moment and yank at the plank in our own eyes. Hitting the pause button on our rants, let's pretend that WE in life's second half are our own worst enemy . . . all three of us: Me, myself, and I.
It's hard, I know, but we can do this!
"How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU’RE WORSHIPPING GOD ON THE DECK OF THE TITANIC?
While we’re ultimately heaven-bound and on the winning team, what about the ship on which we’re currently sailing? Is it going down? Is it enough to just have faith that our ship won’t capsize---despite some alarming downward trends? Will current victories get swallowed up in a cold sea of systemic failure?
Truth is, you have a right and left side of your brain, and they are precisely your age. Neither side is younger or older, and both sides of you can be very engaging!
Stay cutting edge but don’t leave Herb & Mabel on the cutting floor, feeling edgy and edged out. Their eight tracks are perishable commodities, but they are imperishable.
Grandparenting is not the time to circle the wagons and focus only on family. Nor is it a time to forsake our calling as grandparents for the sake of reaching the world.
When local churches come up short of the runway, are we vigilant enough in learning the hard lessons?
We’re often not doing enough to cultivate potential and to provide a clear early warning to those who might settle for the path of idleness.
The idle path may appear safer, but it’s actually more treacherous.
In these later years of life, we do at times get set apart because we’re not shelf-ready in the eyes of consumers.
For a moment I am tempted to mutter, “Those stupid consumers who shop with their eyes!”---but then I catch myself, knowing that I’m often in that swarm of shallow shoppers.
We talk negatively about politicians and ‘political correctness’, but we have our own correctness versions in the church/ministry world.
As we seek to unleash serving and disciple-making potential in others, we encounter people whose life scripts so beautifully and dramatically amplify the message God has placed on our hearts. Our lives were touched to the core in early 2014 when we met Erica Capri at the age of 80 ("and-a-half", she reminded us) in Spokane Valley, Washington, just eight months after the passing of her beloved husband Joe.
Written by Mark Delaney
I find books, videos, studies, and peer interaction to be enjoyable and highly beneficial. They serve a great purpose. However, I think we MUST empower by seeking out and finding the o’er yonder, been-there-done-that, seasoned followers of Christ.
Yes, he saves us all from lots of terrible stuff, sometimes before disaster strikes and sometimes after, but He also saves us so that we can become an extension of His love to others.
“For a long time, churches have treated teenagers like they live in their own world. They have their own music, their own service, and their own culture. The only person with a passport to go between the teenage and adult world is the youth pastor.
As youth pastors, we know that we can have a greater impact if more adults have passports to go between worlds. We want to see adults draw nearer to the younger generation and mentor them in a life with Christ.”
No age group wants to feel the insult of being unconsulted, caged in, irrelevant or blindsided. Changes that follow prayer and cross-generational collaboration are more likely to unify the whole body.
We need the balance of elder wisdom and experience combined with youthful energy and innovation.