If you read this blog regularly, you know I love to work with young pastors. I’ve spent the last 20+ years of my life equipping them. They have energy, passion, and faith that are remarkable. At the same time, many young pastors have written off older leaders because our churches haven’t been as healthy as they should be, or we don’t necessarily agree on every fine point of theology with them.
Young pastors, I challenge you to find an older pastor and have some conversations. I’m not even saying you need to find an older mentor (though I do think we all need older mentors); I’m simply saying, “Take an older pastor to lunch and talk.” Here are some reasons why:
- We’ve been where you are. Most of us probably have stories from the past that will amaze you – not because they’re necessarily amazing, but because they’re remarkably similar to things you face today. Believe it or not, church members in our early ministries fought change, too.
- Even if we haven’t gotten it all right, we have learned some things that might help you. We might have even learned them from our mistakes. Give us an opportunity to help you avoid some of the dumb things we’ve done.
- You need all the prayer support you can get – and some of us have learned how to pray. We’re hardly experts at prayer (who is?), but we can certainly lift up you and your family to God. The more prayer partners you have, the better.
- You might be surprised by how much we understand you. Sure, some of our generation are disconnected from a changing world, but not all of us are. We understand a lot about your questions regarding church leadership, denominations, missions giving, etc.
- We might be more reliable confidants than your peers. We often have more time to talk and listen, and I hope we’re less likely to see ourselves as your “competition” in ministry. Age brings us to a place where we truly do want to invest in the next generation.
- We might even pay for a lunch. I know that sounds facetious, but that’s not my intent. We remember when we struggled to pay our bills, and anything other than a sack lunch wasn’t wise. We usually have few more discretionary dollars today, so take the chance that you might get a free meal!
- We need and want to learn from you. We really do. The problem is that neither of us talks to the other enough. We talk around each other and against each other – which means all of us sin, and none of us learns. That’s tragic.
Young pastor, give us a call. Send us an email or text.
Older pastor, take the hint within this post: don’t turn down the invitation. And, by the way, buy the lunch!