The Second Half
Recently we have much attention given to the subject matter of aging, especially from our baby boomer generation who has begun to turn the corner to the second half of their lives. This subject of aging coupled with an ever changing world poses various matters to consider, but the greatest question to ask ourselves as we all at some point approach this stage of life is this. What is the greatest impact I can make with all the resources that I hold in my hand?
I have been privileged to be around some of the finest ministers who have aged with dignity, grace and a sense of generosity that has extended to generations that are yet to come. It has been an inspiration to me to challenge myself to not rest on just my successes but to follow after the plan that God has intended me to walk with a greater sense of confidence and respect.
In contrast, I have seen first hand the effects of aging take its toll on ministers who have retreated to isolation and a sense of bitterness to an ever changing culture. It has saddened me enough to seek the Lord for new direction on a consistent basis in order that I might be usable in His hands.
For the music director/worship leader who faces these challenges, I would like to offer encouragement that you not be pressured to give up just because church music is ever evolving and the popular methods we used 20 years ago are not so popular any more. In my present post, I hear a lot of stories about aging music directors who feel isolated and worthless. Their ministries as they know them are not as effective or accepted by younger pastors or their administrations want something “new”. As difficult as it may be for those who are struggling to find their place, I believe that by embracing changing methods without compromising the integrity of ministry, age at any stage can bring balance to church life. The greater issue here is that we consider balance of age more than balance of musical styles. The young need the old and the old need the young.
We have chosen to take a positive stance on our approach. God is not finished with any of us yet. He is the ultimate voice that we must listen to. Unless you know for sure that you are done…know that the call you have lived by has not been revoked. For my younger colleagues remember that you will age too…it’s inevitable…so live and learn. For my older friends who are still in the trenches, don’t be afraid to learn something new.
I leave you with one of my favorite poems that has inspired me many times to live out the second half with purpose and joy! We still have bridges to build.
The Bridge Builder
Will Allen Dromgoole
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide –
Why build you the bridge at eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come, “he said,
“There followed after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
Tom Matrone is the Consultant to the Worship Resource & Consulting Department of the Assemblies of God.For more info on Tom, click here.