Older saints offer unique blessings to younger church members

Many older people can relate well to the fact whatever they want to do, the mind may be willing, but the body is not. Yet, Lifeway Research noted older Christians can still have tremendous impact on their churches by sharing some important lessons to younger members.

However, when it comes to church leadership, a problem occurs when younger people are ready to take on more responsibility, but older members are unwilling to hand off the reins. The problem is solved when older saints work to train younger folks the same way everyone learns to handle new responsibility:

  • Explain how something is done and why it is done a specific way.
  • Show them step-by-step how something is done.
  • Watch the trainee do the work and provide guidance along the way.
  • Serve as a trusted advisor as the trainee assumes full control.

“We need people to invest in the ones who will carry the work on for coming years. This often requires great humility, but it also yields the deep joy of seeing something so precious continue into the future—even if it changes a little,” wrote Skylar Spradlin, the lead pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Weatherford, Okla. “When this exchange occurs, the blessing and benefit for the whole church is enormous.”

Another way winter saints can have an impact is by sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness over the years. Like Paul explained in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Younger generations who are battling through unexpected problems and what they see as unanswered prayers can benefit from encouragement by people who have been there, done that, and saw God come through over and over.

“Older saints possess numerous stories of God’s care, provision, protection, teaching, blessing, and more,” Skylar wrote. “They can remember answered prayers, understand sanctification, and testify to the longstanding goodness of Christ.”

I was always impressed with my grandmother’s ability to go with the flow. When plans changed at the last minute, she accepted it without grumbling. When bad news arrived, she immediately turned to prayer. She was the polar opposite of seasoned citizens who become bitter and resentful later in life.

Skylar noted winter saints can demonstrate pure joy to a generation of people surrounded by negativity, confusion and the artificial lives others project on social media.

“It’s encouraging to look to an older saint and see there is joy to be had even through the heartaches of a long life in a fallen world. An older saint who displays a joyous life gives real hope to those who come behind them,” Skylar wrote.

The most important advantage winter saints offer to younger people is wisdom learned through difficult trials and experiences. The natural tendencies of younger people is to think tried-and-true equates to tired and old-fashioned.

In reality, the wisdom of sages is needed to patiently explain why things work the way they do. As a result, they can guide people away from shiny objects that could lead them down a dark path.

Perhaps the best thing winter saints can do is demonstrate how to finish the race well with courage, commitment, grace and honor. Let’s face it, churches need older Christians more today than ever before.

Skylar offered several other examples of how winter saints can impact their churches. His advice can be found at Lifeway Research.