One of the reasons we honor the giants of the faith who came before us is because they laid a foundation when they encouraged, supported and even funded our new, crazy ideas. We honor them when we do the same for those who come after us.
4. You can be a great champion for both stability and change
When a newcomer or young person promotes change in the church, that’s expected. And it can be easy to ignore. But when a long-time member champions change, it carries a lot of weight.
In addition to being a landmark of stability, as we saw in the previous point, long-time members can be among the strongest proponents of necessary changes.
Whenever our church has needed to make significant jumps forward, we’ve relied as much on the stability, wisdom and support of our older, longtime members as we have on the enthusiasm, energy and passion of those who are young and new.
There’s so much concern about the generational divide in churches today. When we stick around a while, we can become the glue that helps bridge that divide.
For more on how to do this well, check out my previous article, Hey, Boomers! Let’s Step Up And Be The Elders The Church Desperately Needs Right Now.
5. You can help a healthy church become healthier
The strongest, healthiest churches are the ones that have been around a while, have learned the hard lessons over time, and have adapted to changing circumstances while keeping solid on the essentials of the faith.
That can’t happen when there are no long-timers around, or when the long-timers grow hard and stubborn about getting their own way.
But when a healthy church has a mix of newcomers and long-time members all working together for a common vision of the future … well that’s about as good as it gets.
6. You can spot and help fix problems before they get too big
There’s no substitute for the eyes of wisdom and experience.
If you’ve been around a while and are paying attention, you’re often able to spot potential problems that the younger, busier church members might not see.
Yes, there will always be stubborn old coots who see problems with everything, and there will always be flighty young people who ignore the sage advice of their elders, but that doesn’t have to be the norm.
If you stay steady, supportive, adaptive and kind, young people today are more willing to listen to the advice of their elders than many previous generations were.