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Writing Off Our OAP’s

Posted on: June 12, 2008

In July I’m going to see Ben Folds in Sheffield and a while ago on his ‘Rockin the suburbs’ album he wrote a song called Mr Jones which was basically about someone being forced to leave a job they’d done for years because they were too old.

Now I’ve been thinking recently about how true this is in our churches, how often do people reach a particular age and we stop them doing the children’s work because they’re ‘too old’?, how often do we decide that people are too old to serve yet tell them they can ‘still pray’?

The problem with this is that, firstly prayer becomes something that becomes almost a negative thing for someone to do, if we’re not careful it can become a ‘hmm….now what can you do for our church…you can’t do this…that wouldn’t be suitable…umm…just pray for our church’. Prayer shouldn’t be the last resort, nor something someone does when they can’t do anything else but it should be seen as the most important part of our ministry, behind everything prayer should be going on, as well as someone helping with the youth group they can (and should) be praying for the youth work they’re doing.

The second problem with the attitude above is that we automatically write off old people, have we not thought that some of them can still serve? In fact, all of them can!

It might not be suitable that they help out with the youth ministry but perhaps a less energetic role is there for them? What about encouraging them to welcome new people to church? Look out for new faces and talk to them? What about encouraging evangalising to their friends and people they meet? As many of you will know most old people can talk for hours!!!

Let’s not forget though that in some situations it can be suitable for someone elderly to continue an active role whether it’s doing children’s work, managing the friday night drop-in tuck shop or helping to move tables and chairs around the church.

We have to remember that in the bible people didn’t just reach a particular age and stop serving, they either kept going or found a ministry suitable for their current state, let’s not write off our OAP’s in churches…if they all did things I truly believe we’d see a massive change in our churches.