“Old” is a relative term. Bill Cosby says that most people think “old” is 15 years older than their current age. I think it’s funny that Jennifer’s mom refers to the “old folks” living in her active adult community.
When I was a “young pastor” and first started Graystone Church, I didn’t think it was that important to have “old folks” in our church. Boy was I wrong. Every church planter/pastor needs “old” people is “his” church.
Here are 8 reasons why I love “old” people at Graystone:
1. Old people are encouragers. The people who encourage me the most at Graystone are the “old” people and Julia. Very few people give me words of encouragement, but I can always count on the “old” folks to say something positive and encouraging. I’m not sure why this is, but they will go out of their way to say a complimentary word, write a note or send an uplifting email.
2. Old people are servants. Some of the greatest servants in the church are people who are retired or empty nesters. I love to see them humbly investing in the things that last for all eternity. And you know what? They are fine to serve behind the scenes, so God gets all the glory.
3. Old people are very gracious. Old people tend to be less critical and extremely gracious to me. They allow me to make mistakes and be myself. I’m not sure why this is, but I think the older we get, the more we realize how imperfect we are. Imperfect people tend to extend more grace to others. I think “old” people also realize that life is not all about them or their kids. It’s hard to put this one in words, but “old” people are more gracious and forgiving.
4. Old people are huggers and handshakers. I’m a hugger, a handshaker and a crier for that matter. And it means so much to be to get a big ole side hug or a firm handshake on Sunday morning. ”Younger” people are more apt to “like” a picture or status update on Facebook, but I will take a “real life” hug any day of the week. This is a side note, but social media is completely changing the way we interact with each other. And it is not all positive.
5. Old people are wise. There is no way around it. The only way to gain experience is by experience. The longer you have lived, the more experienced you are. And hopefully, you have learned from your experience. If I have a big decision to make, I like to get wisdom from someone who is an expert in their field, or they have more experience than me. Now, we can learn from our experiences or the experiences of others.
6. Old people are mentors. Everyone needs someone to look up to. And an “old” person can be a spiritual leader and mentor for a “younger” person. It is so neat for me to see “older” women being spiritual mothers to our “younger” women. And our “older” men discipling our “younger” men.
7. Old people can reach other old people. Our goal is to DOMINATE our community with the love of Jesus Christ. Last time I checked, we have a bunch of “old” people living in our community. God wants to use “old” people to reach their peers. Like attracts like. It is much easier for a Sigma Chi fraternity brother to reach another Sigma Chi fraternity brother. It is much easier for a UGA Football Player to reach another UGA Football Player. We typically relate best with people who are 5 years within our age. God is using “old” people to reach other “old” people.
8. Old people are committed to the vision. ”Old” people do not come to Graystone because of the loud music. They do not come to Graystone because of the Children’s Ministry or the Student Ministry. And they probably do not come to Graystone because of the preaching. They come to Graystone because they are committed to the vision. They see that we are committed to reaching our community with the love of Jesus, and they want to be a part of it. Honestly, many of them try to come up with excuses for not coming to Graystone, but God has called them here to help us reach our vision. And this is probably the #1 reason I love “old” people at Graystone. They are not here to have their needs met. They are here to serve God and build His kingdom!
THANK YOU “OLD” PEOPLE!!!
If you are offended by this blog because you think I am calling you “old”, I am not. I am referring to the people who are 15 years older than you. If you are encouraged by this blog, then I am talking about you… whether Joelan thinks you’re “old”, or Jennifer’s mom thinks you’re “old”.
What are your thoughts? Would you add any reasons to the list?