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Older People: The Future of Our Church

Older Christians should model what God wants the next generation to become.

Introduction

On October 29, 1998, the space shuttle Discovery launched with a seven-member crew. One of them, John Glenn, was 77 years old. John Glenn had been in space before. In fact, in 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth. To put it in perspective, the last time John Glenn blasted into the sky in a spacecraft, the towering political figures were Nikita Kruschev and John F. Kennedy. A few days before the flight, John Glenn scolded 100 reporters gathered at the launch pad for the crew's practice countdown. They were focusing too much on his age, he said, rather than the missions' scientific merits. Why the fuss about Glenn's age? As a TIME magazine piece began, "This is no country for old men." That sentiment seems to reflect the attitude of our culture. Hit age 65 and it is time to retire, to collect Social Security, to move aside and let younger, more energetic people step in.

This is an issue we have to face in the church. What roles do people play as they grow older? Should they simply step aside and let a younger generation take over? For an answer to this question, let us consider Titus 2:1–5.

In Titus the Apostle Paul issues a challenge to a church leader on the island of Crete. Paul argues that Christians must match their lifestyle to their doctrine. They need correct beliefs, but they also need correct behavior that matches those beliefs. Paul offers his instruction to four groups. He starts by instructing older men, proceeds to older women, then young men, and then slaves. Each group has a role. Significantly, Paul begins with the senior members of the congregation.

What does Paul mean by "old?" Philo, one of the world's leading philosophers who was an older ...

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Steve Mathewson is senior pastor of CrossLife Evangelical Free Church in Libertyville, lllinois. He is also director of the doctor of ministry program at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

Should older Christians step aside and let a younger generation take over?

I. God has a role for older Christians.

II. Older Christians are to model what the next generation is to become.

III. Older Christians must continue to learn.

Conclusion

God is not done with older Christians, so neither should the church be.