11. Seniors love great Bible teaching.
In fact, pastor, no one in your church will love an intensive Bible study more than they. Many will remember when our churches held annual weeks of study of a book of the Bible, which were always well attended. Announce that you are going to lead a similar study of a short book of Scripture for a weekday morning, pastor, and you might be surprised at the turnout.
12. Seniors tend to be the best givers in the church.
We are told by our leaders that when this generation goes to Heaven, churches are going to be in real financial crisis since we are not teaching giving the way we used to. Years ago, churches in my denomination would actually have stewardship revivals. Their annual stewardship emphasis would last for weeks and culminate in a huge dinner with an outstanding speaker. Churches had tithing testimonies and people were urged to tithe. These days, fewer and fewer churches are teaching these principles. Then they wonder why the giving is so weak.
In many cases, young pastor, you are reaping the benefits of previous pastors who got this right.
13. Seniors tend to be your best pray-ers.
In churches where we have had round-the-clock prayer ministries, seniors carried the major part. It’s a wise pastor who takes advantage of the praying-est people in his church and involves them in such a vital ministry. Incidentally, this is not something you have to do “for them.” Enlist one of them to come up with a plan and give leadership to the prayer ministry.
14. The sweetest friends a pastor will ever have tend to be seniors.
A preacher-father once told his three sons, who were also pastors, “The Lord has put a delicate balance in the church. He has put just enough headstrong, stubborn members to keep you the pastor humble. And He has put just enough sweet, godly saints to keep you from quitting.”
Every church I ever served had both groups. Furthermore, the sweet, humble ones who “keep you from quitting” tend to be the old-timers in the congregation. A young pastor who nurtures his relationships with the seniors in his church is one smart leader.
15. Neglected, abused or misused seniors can give a pastor more headaches than he ever thought possible.
Oh man, the stories I could tell.
In my last pastorate, in the late 1990s we were conducting a self-study, led by a great guy from our state office, on how to gear ourselves up for the challenges of the future. Demographic studies showed a large percentage of young families living within driving distance of our church, but we were reaching few of them. So, the recommendations involved redirecting some of our efforts and energies in their direction. The seniors blew up.
Even though I was in my late 50s and thus a senior myself, one would have thought I was a 25-year-old pastor dead set on pushing the oldsters out. I found myself running from home to home, meeting with Sunday School classes and assuring seniors we were never going to neglect them. Many were some of the most self-centered church members I’ve ever worked with. So, No. 15 on our list of 15 should not be taken lightly.
The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Sir, we’re conducting a survey on the television watching habits of our audience. This will take about three minutes. Could we do that?” I said, “Sure. Go ahead.”
“First,” the man said, “could I ask what group you are in? The groups are 25 and under, 25 to 35, 45 to 55, or 55 and up.”
I said, “That one.”
He said, “Which one?”
“55 and up.”
Click. He hung up. Not one word of explanation. Once he found I was a senior, he was gone.
That was an eloquent statement on how some people discount seniors. So, so foolish.
But this will not happen in a Christian church led by a God-called and Spirit-led pastor. Surely not.