How young people relate to older people and how the older relates to the younger is a good thermostat on the health and strength of a nation. It has been said by many that a lack of respect for the elderly is a sign of a nation in upheaval.
As a church committed to covenant theology, family is an important concept that is a much broader term than simply a reference to the so called “nuclear family,” a mom and dad and 2.5 kids. Growing old has numerous ramifications and many of them are not biblical. The generational divides that we hear about so much today, which seem to accent the boundaries of the various generations, have a biblical response. Older men are to teach younger men and older women, younger women. God intends for family members to show respect for one another. Just as the older teach the younger, the younger are to be an example in their youth to the older.
While the church cannot afford to gloss over the generational groups today, it cannot at the same time allow one generation to be isolated from another. David prayed in his old age that he would have the strength to pass on the faith to the next generation. That implies that the next generation would relate to and listen to him.
Sunday, September 14, 2008 is Senior Citizen’s Day in the PCA. Our desire is to see our PCA churches focus on the covenant aspect of its church members. Below is a list of eight ideas that we suggest as possibilities to assist you in observing that day. Serving and Challenging Seniors is a manual developed by Dr. George Fuller, who assists CEP with the ministry of training. This resource is available either through a senior citizen seminar by Dr. Fuller or the CEP bookstore and also contains many suggestions.
1. Offer praise to God for all the generations, especially the seniors, in the Sunday worship.
2. Provide special education and training classes for seniors and announce them on that day.
3. Encourage seniors to be available to be involved in the church’s ministry.
4. Pick up on a theme listed in Fuller’s manual: “The purpose of Older Adult Week is to help congregations recognize aging as a natural part of living, involving life from birth to death, and to affirm the worth of persons in all stages of development and at all functional levels.”
5. Consider preaching on a passage such as Psalm 71, Psalm 78, or Ecclesiastes 12 on that day. A message on honoring your father and mother would also be appropriate.
6. For the more creative, you could plan an intergenerational event during the Sunday school time.
7. Check the chapter “Mobilizing for Ministry” by the late Edmund P. Clowney in Fuller’s manual for suggestions.
8. Give an award for longevity in service and/or faithfulness in present service to a senior member of the congregation.
Older people have much to offer and thanking the elder generation continues to express a desire to have good relationships with older people, including parents.