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Helping Seniors Get Excited About Their Faith

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How can I help the senior citizens I'm working with to get really enthused about their Christian commitment? They're all dear, sweet people, and many of them are lifelong saints who have been walking with the Lord for decades. But that's exactly where the problem lies. There's nothing I can tell them that they haven't heard before. Whatever I say, their attitude always seems to be, "Yes, we know all that, and we believe it too." I guess that's fine from a certain perspective, but I wish I could find a way to light a fire under them when it comes to faith. Can you help me?

In many ways, the obstacles you face in your attempts to challenge seniors with the message of the Gospel are no different than those of any other age group. Whether young or old, we all need to see – and to be reminded again and again – that God is real, that the Good News is urgent, and that Christ’s call to discipleship has immediate implications for our everyday lives. As the teacher or group facilitator you can’t make this happen; the light dawns in each individual heart as a response to the work of the Holy Spirit. Your job is to plant seeds by presenting the Word faithfully.

It’s true, of course, that seniors have had more time to be lulled into complacency through long familiarity with the Christian faith. The older we get, the easier it becomes to take even the most astounding miracles for granted, especially when we’ve heard the “old, old story” rehearsed a thousand times. Maybe what your seniors need to know is that their wisdom can have a powerful impact upon the lives of younger believers. Perhaps you should encourage them with the thought that in the Christian life the parade never passes us by and there are always new opportunities for active involvement.

You might take a cue from the apostle John: “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one …” (1 John 2:12, 13). As John understood, older saints may not have the fresh zeal of new converts or the power and strength of young spiritual lions, but they do possess a wealth of knowledge drawn from long experience that can be a tremendous benefit to the entire church. Encourage them to find new ways to share this gift with others.

Perhaps your pastor would also be willing to sit down and discuss your questions with you. If not, consider calling our pastoral counselors here at Focus on the Family.

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