Do We Need Grey Heads in the Church?

1grace_colorThere is a tremendous emphasis today to slow down aging or at least look like you’ve hit the paused button on your advancement in years. Secular society has frowned upon many things and one of the main ones is the process of aging. To many, being young is associated with being healthy, free and believe it or not, being educated and wise. You may find that last part hard to believe but let me explain. The idea of someone being “old” represents to many in our society as being out of touch with modern thinking. The elderly seem to be stuck in those olden days when people raised kids differently, ate differently, didn’t go to the gym and seem to understand Apple/Blackberry as fruits. Seems they have nothing more to offer than a short history lesson on how things “were” to make us feel more intelligent and sophisticated. These people are about to die and the era they represent will enter into the grave alongside with them.

Unfortunately, this ideology has leaked into the church.   I once heard an individual state that the sign of the impending death of a church is seeing the sea of white heads when you walk in. Churches today are trying to win over the young through a multitude of venues and methodologies. Some are using the ol’ bait them with entertainment trick or attempt to meet their spiritual needs, not with good biblical exposition, but with a multitude of self help programs for every need. The elderly, who are far wiser with their money, are around to pay for this stuff to happen.

The biggest problem about this scenario is that it completely sways from how the bible presents the relationship between the young and the old. Take for instance these three texts:

Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:32 )

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

There are many more that we could list but you get the idea. The grey heads, whether men or women, are to be respected and appreciated amongst the people of God. They are far more key to the church than most realize. We have a tendency to separate the young from the elderly and in return the mature. The youth don’t need more programs or entertainment but need to spend some time with the elderly so as to have the wisdom they are acquired through living a Godly life rub off a little on these younger fellas. How can the youth grow to be wise and carry on adult Christian conversations if they’ve never been exposed to them? The bible isn’t just a book to be read but it’s a book to be discussed. Kids don’t just learn by reading books but they learn most by the examples we set and the conversations they overhear. We need to allow our youth to learn from those more mature so that they might eventually be mature themselves.

This also can be related to the importance of parents having biblical discussions with their kids. We have a tendency to ship them off to Sunday School for the morning break as quickly as possible but worship is something that is done as a family and as a congregation. When a man preaches, the parents have a responsibility to find out if the children have properly understood the word given. This may be in a summary  form but regardless we should be prepared to have a discussion with our kids. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop having these discussions as an adult. In reality, that’s when you need them most.

To answer the question “Do we need  white heads in the church”; we don’t only need them but more importantly we need to use them and expose our youth to them to learn from them.

4 thoughts on “Do We Need Grey Heads in the Church?

  1. Enjoyed this posting of course I should because I would be one of the grey heads 🙂
    There was a time in our local gatherings when the elderly took a keen interest in the younger ones. We enjoyed being with them and would marvel at their knowledge of scripture. As you have discussed very well, this era has passed.
    Having said that perhaps rather than condemning the younger for this perhaps some of the older believers need to reach out to those of the younger generation.
    I think particularly of those who have a passion for God. Encourage them, pray for them, let them know you understand they are living in perilous times. Oh how our young people who show a love for their Lord need older Christians. Many of them reach out to the seniors and kind of adopt them as spiritual parents.
    Perhaps the local churches could use their energy in encouraging this relationship.

  2. I just left a church that was 75% elderly members. They were unwilling to listen to the youth or let go of their veto power so all millenials left, taking their families with them. The elders reached out to me to help, but only if I did things their way. The problem is that it wasn’t me and I felt like my own ideas were irrelevant. Such a thing would be unheard of in any other setting, imagine a retired real estate agent showing up at the office just to tell their replacement that they’re doing everything wrong. That’s what happened at that church.

    1. Thank for posting Jamie

      Its difficult for me to comment on the situation since I don’t have all the details. I know that there are situations when some older folks are so attached to their traditions that they refuse to take any step that seems “progressive” but on the other hand, some younger people have tried to market the church like a business and in return have taken away all the reverence because they are more worried about numbers than substance. There needs to be wisdom in these situations with making our Lord the center of the purpose we are there. With this mindset, we can often come to conclusions that are well thought out and honouring to the Lord.

  3. I believe we must pray for those grey-headed brothers and sisters, that they might first of all realize that we are getting near the end (by the way- I am one of them) and that our duty is to bring a good part of the millennial demographic into Christ’s body and at that … ASAP ! Also I do pray for all the young adults presently in our churches that they might catch a vision of what they might do to bring such a dream to reality. Where are the churches reaching millennials? North America?- very few! Europe … well, Western Europe … No. Africa, China, South America … Yes, pretty good & in South America VERY GOOD! But then we don’t look much like them …do we. So who looks more like us and is having better results. ANSWER: Romania! (Eastern Europe) Be sure to check this out on YouTube:
    “Speranta Media” & “Biserica Baptista Speranta Oradea” (the Speranta Baptist Church of Oradea). You will be encouraged. So study how they are doing it & let’s see if our millennials can work together, copy them and get the same results. Please millennials ..don’t wait for us old folks to make things happen. You know I.T. (information technology) …so use it. By the way… for the one who made this site… God bless you .. Thank you for your efforts.
    You millennials ,,, learn how ..pray about it …do it.

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