Thursday, November 15, 2007

Amazing Statistics


Professional writers usually try to stay away from statistics because the assumption is that readers will wince and turn the page as quickly as possible. But in my mind, some statistics are so startling and dramatic that we just cannot ignore them. (The cartoon shows how many folks will get Social Security. Click the pic to see a landslide!)

Take a long look at these data.

1. There are some 90 million Americans who are 50-plus years of age

2. Over the next two decades that number will grow by 74%

3. The percentage under 50 will increase by 1%

Questions:

a. What age group is the largest mission field in America?

b. What age group has the greatest reservoir of wealth, knowledge, experience and wisdom?

c. Why are churches so obsessed with recruiting young people?

d. What is your church doing to equip Seasoned Believers to minister effectively?

e. What is your church doing to evangelize Seasoned Citizens?


3 comments:

Ron Tate said...

Gary,

Having been in ministry for over 35years I have been guilty of over-looking "Seasoned Believers". Many of us were caught up in the Willowcreek model as being the key to the "survival" of the church.
The "Seeker Friendly" revolution sounded good but only if one was under 35. Anyone over 35 was on their own.

We changed the paradigm that the majority of believers had been accustomed to to accommodate this target group. Instead of listening to the "Seasoned Believers" and understanding their frustration with the abandoning of hymn books, feel good sermons and the elimination of Sunday evening services, Wednesday prayer meetings and Sunday School, we concluded that they were malcontents and spiritually immature.

What I did not admit was that I was almost as frustrated as they were but because I had jumped on to the latest bandwagon, I was commited to follow it through because to change back to the traditional model would have been an admission of bad judgment.

I have been a "Seasoned Believer" for some time and I have become painfully aware that we did a disservice to many people. I intend to rectify this error in judgment.

Thank you for calling this to our attention.

Ron

Michael W Cristiani said...

Ron,

Thank you so much for your comment. Praise be to God that He is the model for all who believe. He is Truth and Beauty, Goodness, and Life, and Forgiveness, and Healing.

Praise God for those who seek, for God surely leads all who seek to find Him in Jesus, Who is All in All. Regardless of their age or state in life, or musical preference, etc., where will those who seek find Him, without Whom, they will always be restless (David and Augustine)? Perhaps, in the Body of Christ, made present as the hands and feet of believers ruthlessly being Truth and Beauty, Goodness, and Life, and Forgiveness, and Healing. As Francis of Assisi (Paula Clouse, here's a shout out to you, dear one) is oft quoted as saying, "Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words."

Your heartache is palpable. How could it not be. It echoes loudly the heartache of the Church, I think, because what you have described seems to have resulted in dismemberment of the Body, a tearing apart of Jesus, limb from limb. Seasoned Believers know this is contrary to the Truth.

There is so much to respond to in your comment, and I want to try to do so, bit by bit, over the next few days or weeks. Perhaps others will too.

This Seasoned Believers effort is prophetic, at the very least.

Thank you so very much.

Gary Sweeten said...

At the very least the research by Willow Creek and the experiences of our own past mistakes can lead us to consider a more biblical way to develop disciples-students who actually "Do the stuff" that Jesus did. I am excited that Ron and Michael and many others see God's hand in our small effort to "Unleash Seasoned Believers".

Ask the next Seasoned Believer what they would love to do with God and encourage them to do it, now.