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Age in worship- how big an issue is it?

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  • Age in worship- how big an issue is it?

    So it appears age seems to be quite a hot button issue. Our 'too old for worship' thread has quite a bit of interaction, and the main page article about age in worship has more responses than any in recent history, almost twice as much as the next highest post count I saw (for Sunday set lists).

    What I am taking away from the responses I am reading is there seems to be a genuine concern by those who are seasoned worship leaders and contributors that the day will come when they will be asked to stand aside to make room for someone younger. In fact, many people here have either had it happen to them or seen it happen to their fellow leaders and teammates.

    It seems there are articles and blogs about this subject, but if there ever was a 'gray elephant', perhaps this is it...

    In my perspective, I can see a little of both sides. Yes, there needs to be a fresh pipeline of emerging worship leaders. I agree that it helps younger people make a better connection if they see more people their age involved in a visible ministry like worship team. But how did we get from there to the mandate of "if you're gray, go away"?

    My take is why can't the team represent a cross section of the church? My team covers 3 generations. It's a good cross-section of our congregation.

    What's been some of your experiences with this situation?
    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

  • #2
    I guess at 61 I qualify as a "gray elephant". As for myself I'm happy to embrace the notion as it gives me a certain amount of authority based on a lifetime of experience I can draw from. However, about 6 months ago I began the process of intentionally drawing on younger members of the congregation to take charge of key areas in our church efforts. I know there will come a time when all of us "seasoned" leaders will need to step back and I think it's REALLY important to spend the time now with the younger folks and pass on our knowledge so when the time comes they're ready.

    My gauge for I need to hand over the reigns is when one of these young energetic folks can out-work me. So far I'm pretty safe..
    The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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    • #3
      lol yeah that's the gauge I use too-

      To be clear, I am all for growing and developing the next generation of leaders to pass the baton. It's vital that we give them room to grow, room to make mistakes, and to mentor them in ways that worship leader college can't do.

      I also think the younger generation brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm that often gets lost on us as we get older. I often talk with our leader that trying to keep the youth focused during practice is like trying to herd cats, but their enthusiasm, energy and plain old silliness can be a welcome reminder that what we do should be fun, too.

      But there is a difference between developing the next generation of leaders and "stacking the deck" to fit a certain image. I could see it if it was a youth-specific event, like an outreach, camp, etc. but not because the church wants to look sexy.
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good dialog for sure. I think that ultimately, it really is going to depend on the philosophy of a given church. Some churches are very intentional in there mission and the generation(s) they are wanting to reach. Others, like SSCC, our multi-generational, and proud of it.

        For me, I want us to be multi-generational, not just in the musical selections, but in those who lead it. I'd like to have a youth worship leader and an older one. At 43 years old, I start looking around and hoping there is a place for me.

        But passing the baton, and passing your mantle of authority and leadership is a God-thing. IT's all through the Bible. We don't have to be scared of it. And just because we may pass the baton to a younger generation "on the main stage at church" doesn't mean we give up our ministry. There are tons of nursing homes, hospice care, schools, etc., that would LOVE to have a group of "gray elephants" come play and sing and lead them in some music.

        So, perhaps we deal with a bit of entitlement as well.

        HMMM.....
        Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
        blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

        Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:
        www.soundcloud.com/FredMcKinnonMusic
        www.youtube.com/c/FredMcKinnonMusic

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        • #5
          And just because we may pass the baton to a younger generation "on the main stage at church" doesn't mean we give up our ministry. There are tons of nursing homes, hospice care, schools, etc., that would LOVE to have a group of "gray elephants" come play and sing and lead them in some music.
          I agree there are opportunities there. We have music teams that do exactly those events- I chuckle a bit because the team from our church that does it is still three generations... my awesome guitar playing friend, his family, and a couple other people that are older.

          Ok, so we get to the point where we are passing the baton to the next generation. It's time for us to become less, so they can become more- at least on the Sunday morning platform portion of ministry. Great- I'm on board. So the next step is to hang up our drumsticks and amps, grab our acoustic and hymnal and go to the nursing home? So isn't there some middle ground, like doing some special concerts, etc. where we can get out other places along with the nursing home? Not to dismiss nursing home ministry, it's one of the best things we can do. But surely that's not all we can do...

          We have years of skill built up (not just musical but ministry skills), we have a lot of great music left in us. We aren't ready to hang it up. We have a lot of skin in the game paving the way for the modern contemporary music. We have a lot of passion for what we do. Surely there is something we can get involved in that takes advantage of the skill sets we've honed for the last 20 years...

          Now all that being said, I do see a valid concern for an 'entitlement' mentality. With all the aforementioned emotional attachment we can have in this, it's very easy to fall into an "I paid my dues and I earned it" mentality. However, it's also a valid concern that someone someday is going to tell me that 'you look like my dad, you can't be on the worship team anymore."

          I bet there'd be a great interest in finding ways to develop the music ministry beyond Sunday morning. By this stage in life, many of us will be empty nesters (or at least have adult-aged kids), we could have some more time to do some things like special worship events where we 'kick it old school' a little bit. Maybe that's the next challenge of our generation of worship leaders and musicians?
          If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

          Comment


          • #6
            You know Mike, you made me think about something. At my age I need a little help with that....LOL.

            One of the things our worship team has begun doing that might provide some alternatives is we very often play at secular events, benefits and such. We don't play secular music, but our regular music we use in our church has very broad appeal. We have to be careful because it can sometimes be overwhelming to do these events as well as serve in the church service, but maybe a separate group organized to do that sort of thing would be an appropriate outlet for some of the "grey elephants".

            The way we do it is, we have a VERY capable portable line-array PA system that can be used for sizeable events. That's our door opener. We'll provide the sound for the event and our band "The Posse Band" will be one of the bands in the lineup. That gives us a great ministry opportunity out in the public and we've been very well accepted at biker events, charities such as "Wheelchairs for Kids", Pet Rescue events and the like. It seems to me you could take some of the more "seasoned" members and do something very similar. After all, Joe Walsh, The Rolling Stones, and any number of other old-timers are still out there playing...why not a seasoned worship team with a real message to share?
            The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

            Comment


            • #7
              We have an age range from 20 to late 50's, with the bulk of our team in their mid 20's to early thirties and myself being 29. One the "older" members of our team has been a huge blessing not only in terms of his playing ability and attitude, but in the leadership he's shown on the team. He is one that leads by example in every aspect and has come alongside us helping with various projects. His wisdom and maturity are a great addition to our team.

              But we've also had some "older" members who's playing ability was stagnant, didn't fit with the style of music we do, and had attitudes of entitlement. They seemed to feel that because they had always been on a team that they were entitled to a spot regardless of their ability or effort (or lack thereof) to keep growing.

              We currently don't have any worship leaders over the age of 30 because we don't have any that are able. Basically, we welcome and enjoy diversity in age, but you are held to the same standard whether you are 16 or 65. If I can speak for those in the young-to-middle generation, we want older people on our teams that are willing pass the leadership baton but help us carry some of the load. It's amazing what someone with some wisdom and maturity can do to help set the tone and lead by example within a team of volunteers. It's not always worship/musical areas where younger people can learn from the older generation, it's how to serve humbly, how to be commit and serve faithfully, how to have a good attitude in the midst of trial, etc.

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