A man wrote me recently struggling through a call to a particular church. It is a church that is financially stable—for now—but needs revitalization and only has a few faithful elderly folks. This is a very common scenario. He was concerned that the church had no kids or younger women to provide friendship and fellowship for his family. He was asking if this is a good enough reason not to go to a church.
An excellent, valid question and one I know many of you are asking also. Here was part of my reply:
Good to hear from you. Great question that reveals some valid concerns. I came into a very similar church 11 years ago minus the financial stability. Average age was 80. No kids or young women. Now a fourth of the church are little kids and the average adult age is 35. It would be disingenuousness for me to tell you that these things are deal breakers and that God doesn’t want you to go to that church because of them. Oftentimes, God uses a younger pastor and family to help bring that new life of the younger generation into the church. Having said that, it is hard and will be hard for your family. You may not see the same results I did and that is OK. You need to realize this will be an investment of many years. Financial stability is huge in my mind, as that buys you more years to hang in there. Other than that, you and your wife need to be up for the hard years in the beginning. In the meantime, it is a good stretch for each of you to try and find those friendships with those not in your peer group in the church. It also will be essential to look for some support for your family outside the church with other pastors and their families in your area. Blessings on you. Walk through the process with this particular church and trust God opening and closing doors as you do.
Pastors and aspiring pastors, a church not having folks your age in the church generally should not be a deal breaker. In fact, you and your faithful energetic ministry may be exactly what God uses to turn the church around. But, make no mistake, it is hard, hard work. It will be hard on your family. Make sure you and your wife are all in before going there.
However, trust me in this: It is a great gift from the Lord to watch God fill your church over the years with that missing generation and meaningful friendships coming from that group when there was a time where there were none.
This post originally appeared at Practical Shepherding.
Published May 20, 2021