Why The Church Took a Pass on Boomers

“Even after several years, I’m still a guest here.” It wasn’t the first time I’d had this thought on a Sunday morning at church. God knows I’d tried to plug into the life of the nondenominational church my husband and I had attended for more than three years. But one Sunday I had an epiphany about why I felt like a perpetual visitor. The insight came as I read the announcements for coming events. These included: A Mothers of Preschoolers year-end luncheon Information about a … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Creating A Culture Of Maturity

coffee hour

In my earlier posts in this series, I queried pastors and church leaders about their experience pastoring those over 40. (Click here if you'd like to have a peek at those posts.) Those responsible for shepherding their congregations are stretched in dozens of different directions on any given day. A discussion about how to effectively minister to older congregants may sound as though I'm suggesting adding another half-dozen tasks to that impossible to-do list. As several respondents to that … [Read more...]

Healing And The Favorite College Game ‘Guess The Major’

fell hall

In 2007, I wrote a post (here) about what happened to me when I visited the scene of a whole bunch of crimes (most of the PG-13 variety at that point in my life) after three decades had passed. My husband Bill and I headed to the cornfields of Central IL to see Shakespere's "Love's Labour's Lost" and I had an opportunity to revisit the campus where I'd been a student in the late 1970's. As I am working on a chapter for my upcoming book on the topic of regret, this episode has come to mind as an … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / When Christian Ambition Fades To Gray

leader

I was in a room with a bunch of young pastors-in-training, and commented to a friend that I could feel the testosterone in the air even though there were a number of women present. "That's not testosterone you're sensing," he told me. "It's ambition." As I observed the body language among the group (so many firm two-handed handshakes!), and listened to snatches of conversation, I realized my friend was right. Many of those in the room were anxious to impress the others around them, and … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Beyond Recreation Therapy?

senors

Since I started writing and speaking about midlifers' changing relationship with the local church, various friends have pointed me toward a few churches who are making some sort of attempt to minister to their older congregants. As I learned when I offered my survey on the subject earlier this summer, many congregations don't know what to do to nurture spiritual maturity in their "second adulthood" members beyond asking them to fill slots on the church org chart. This energizes some, but leaves … [Read more...]

40+ Case Study: Jeanette

shoes

Sarah Bessey, a gifted thirty-something writer, noted in her post last week at Christianity Today's Her.meneutics blog that as she was pulling together research for an upcoming book, she discovered how many midlife women felt marginalized by church and culture alike. She noted that the church often mirrors culture in way that cause pain for those of a certain age: Sadly, perhaps we need to admit that we don't honor age in our churches either, particularly for women. Once a woman reaches a … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / (Re-)Sowing What We’ve Reaped

Stain-glass-window

A recent Christianity Today cover story profiling the perpetual adolescence of American Christianity asked "When Are We Going To Grow Up?" For those of us over 40, it's now or never. Those of us in this age group may have grown up hearing that we weren't supposed to trust anyone over 30, but most of us discarded this bit of wisdom around the time we turned 31. Or did we? When it comes to church, it seems many of us internalized this bit of 1960's-era youth power doggerel. Over the span of … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Regret

regret

Though the surfacing of regret is certainly not limited to one particular age group, it is a mile marker that often signals that we’ve passed a spiritual halfway point in our life’s one-way journey and, to hijack a familiar metaphor, there really are no U-turns allowed. Those who follow Christ trust that his life, death and resurrection saves us from our sins—the ultimate U-turn, if you will—but he often uses the consequences of those sins as refining tools in our lives. A life lived … [Read more...]