On a flight not long ago, I sat next to a mom with a young son, a little seat-kicker named Bobby. It was clear that I was not going to get much work done, so I introduced myself to both of them, and she prodded the little tow-head to greet me. Which he did: "Gee, mister, you're old!"
Yes, I thought, and if you keep talking to people this way, you're not going to have that problem.
A few months after that, I was with a group of my old college buddies. We get together for a long weekend every year. Most of us are pastors so it's also a chance to talk shop and swap dreams and hurts. Each year we try to have one unusual experience, and that year we all took surfing lessons at Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz. I still think of us as just a few years out of college, adults in the prime of manhood still mastering our crafts. But I got another glimpse of reality when one surfing instructor muttered under his breath to the other one: "I guess it's AARP day at the beach today."
Yes, I thought, but I guess it's not "Big Tip day" at the beach today.
All of that to say I suddenly find myself in a season that can be described as middle-aged only if I'm planning on living to be 110.
I find myself thinking—with a consistency and a sense of conviction—about the next generation of pastors and church leaders like I never have before.
Many people have noted that there is a "brain drain" of the brightest and best of Christian young people. A decreasing number of them are entering church ministry.
A historian friend, Jim Singleton, expressed the situation recently in stark terms. Around 1950, 10 percent of all Phi Beta Kappa college graduates became ordained ...