As far as church is concerned, the Christmas season has really begun! Last night I conducted a service at a residential care home a stone’s throw from DFC (and believe me, stones get thrown around there!) DFC usually takes a service there once a month, but last night was the Carol Service.
Quite a gang from the church appeared and quite a number of residents turned up in the lounge. So, some carols, readings and then a 15min preach on Matt. 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Preaching to the elderly presents a different challenge to preaching in the church. There are practical problems: getting residents assembled in one place, preaching so that they can hear (I am usually a bit loud anyway, but I have to turn it up even more!), keeping it short enough so that I get to the conclusion before some start to drop off(!), leading the singing without instruments (getting the pitch and pace right). Interesting.
Well, I enjoyed it. Everyone else seemed to as well, though it was difficult to tell how the message itself is received. The staff provided a cup of tea afterwards – can’t be bad!
The elderly are often treated as less important, both in society and in the church. I say this because ten years ago, when I was into the seeker-sensitive thing, we were often urged to ‘target’ evangelism and worship services mostly to the thirty-somethings. At the time I could see the cold logic of it from a demographics point of view. However, I was always a little uncomfortable with it. Now I am deeply so. I met too many aging refugees from churches which had implemented seeker-sensitive services aimed at a particular niche market. People are people, made in the image of God, no matter how old. No one is too old to hear and receive the gospel. No one is a lost cause by virtue of age. A leopard can change its spots. An old dog can learn new tricks. An old person can be born again.
We must trust that God will bless the preaching of his word wherever the opportunity arises.
PS. Sorry to miss Ant’s Woodlands housegroup Christmas bash as a result. (Techically, I’m still on your list, am I, Ant? Please?) I gather it was a blast…