Sunday 1st October has been designated as the International Day of Older Persons by the United Nations. They would like to see us ‘tapping the talents, contributions, and participation of older persons in society.’[i] It’s part of the UN’s international agenda on ageing, part of a plan aimed at ‘enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies at large.’
It’s a terrific opportunity for us, in our churches, to do just that. Why don’t we ask a few of our seniors to take the pulpit and ‘tell out’ what God has done in their lives? Or even, bring an encouraging word? Last Sunday, in my church, an 85-year-old former pastor gave a delightful talk on God’s power to keep us, based on John 10:28. Paul is one of our much-loved elders.
The day almost coincides with the publication of my new book, What’s Age Got To Do With It? In a way, it echoes the United Nations’ theme of involvement and participation, but even more specifically, it encourages older Christians to step into the role God intended for them as part of His life design.
To a secular Professor this is so obvious that’s he’s written an award-winning book about it.[ii] He states, categorically, that older people are meant to be the elders of society; the mentors, the balance-keepers, and the glue that holds us together. And he’s not the only one – many psychologists and commentators are saying the same thing.
Also on 1st October in church, I’ll be describing our new publication for sharing the good news of Jesus with older people in a way that brings them together over a cup of coffee (and a cake or two) to chat and share their views and experiences. One that works with a ‘guided discovery’ approach, similar to our ‘Brain & Soul Boosting for Seniors’ sessions. I’ll be looking for volunteers to run the programme with me and others. My pastor, a vigorous 40-something year old, gives his whole hearted support.
We don’t often get an International Day Of Older Persons, so let’s make the most of it!
[ii] What are Older People For? How Elders Will Save the World,’ William H Thomas, M.D.,2004, WanderWyk & Burnham, MA, USA