6. Some of your seniors have read more books than you own in your library.

You will start to quote something you read recently and it turns out that several in your audience have read everything that author ever wrote. A few may have known him or her personally. That’s one more reason, pastor, never to lift a sermon verbatim from something you read. Someone in your audience will recognize it.

7. Some of your seniors have traveled, been to places you’ve never heard of, and knew personally people you use as sermon illustrations.

I tell a story about Ty Cobb, the Hall-of-Fame baseball player who put in 22 years with the Detroit Tigers and set a lot of records, many of which are still on the books. He is said to have come to Christ a few weeks before he died of cancer in 1961. He sent a message to the men he had played ball with: “Fellas, I got in the bottom of the ninth. I sure wish I’d come in the top of the first.” In my preaching, I tell that and ask, “What inning are you in?” In Valdosta, Georgia, a lovely little lady came up and said, “I was Ty Cobb’s nurse at Grady Hospital in Atlanta in those last weeks of his life. A sweet, sweet man.”

8. Seniors can still go on mission trips and make a difference.

Becky Gilbreath Crumpton graduated from high school with my brother Ron’s class, in 1954. That puts them both around age 80. When I spoke at the Alabama Baptists’ annual convention, Becky was singled out as the Volunteer of the Year. She’s not alone, of course. So many veteran workers with our denomination’s Disaster Relief ministries are seniors and still making a great difference for Jesus. The point is, pastor, do not assume they’re too old. Some of them are younger than you in vision, energy and attitude.

9. They appreciate respect but despise being condescended to.

My friends tell me they hate being talked down to like they are 5-year-olds. They dislike people calling them “young man” or “young lady.” In most cases, “Mister Joe” or “Mrs. Mae” works.

10. Not all seniors in church know the Lord Jesus, so you should not assume they’re all saved just because they’re in church and active in the work.

When you speak to senior groups, give them the plan of salvation from time to time and extend a gospel invitation. It can’t hurt, and might make an eternal difference.

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