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I offered 10 pointers to young preachers without being old enough to be a sage. There will certainly be better advice out there, but I am going to take the risk of offering some thoughts to older preachers before I fully arrive in that category:

1. Keep getting to know God. You may know more than others, but you never know God enough. Keep your life ambition to really know and love Him, and the impact of your life and ministry will keep growing!

2. Doggedly maintain a teachable spirit. This will allow you to keep teaching others. If you stop learning and growing we can tell, but we can’t tell you.

3. Never trade a goal of gospel transformation for behavioral conformity. As energy for leadership and ministry wane, so pushing for conformity in others will become more attractive. Hold out the gospel always!

4. Embrace the transition from king to sage. Too many leaders have undone their good work by resisting this transition and clinging to power. As we age, “strategic ministry” shifts from a position and office to an attitude and role. We need sages freed from leadership responsibilities, who have a fresh passion for the gospel and enthusiasm for the next generation of leaders!

5. Become a champion, not a liability. You have seen older folks become crotchety/awkward/negative and others age with dignity/delight/enthusiasm. You already know what I’m asking.

6. Always be a Bible person, not an issue person. It is tempting to let issues define your ministry, and these will shift over the years. Instead of heralding a personal pet peeve, keep growing an infectious passion for the Bible.

7. Please stay humble. Even with all your experience and insight, God still doesn’t need you. But He really loves you. The kingdom of self is ugly at any age. Those of us who are younger need the humble you. Your experience and insight, salted with humility, is priceless to us.

8. Don’t try to be cool, but do stay up-to-date. This applies both to wider culture and to theological content. The greatest examples of older preachers have always been refreshingly aware, rather than defensively resistant, to a changing context.

9. Discriminate feedback. People will praise any public speaker. Just as people automatically encourage a young preacher, so the polite thing to do is thank an older preacher. Don’t maintain a ministry on a diet of ambiguous politeness. Get genuine and honest feedback.

10. Past ministry glories don’t shine from your face, but a close walk with Jesus does. There are lots of older preachers feeling frustrated as their energy and opportunities for ministry fade. The few who love Jesus more than ever are one of God’s greatest gifts to the church.



Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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Stephen Belokur

commented on Mar 13, 2015

Very good article. My only question would be to define what it means to stay up to date on theological content. Perhaps you could elaborate a little bit more on that statement. Thanks for the good points! PTL!!

David Jankowski

commented on Mar 13, 2015

I'm one of the older guys (70), and I appreciate the advice. I'm still serving in my church, but I'm no longer the lead guy. It took some adjustment, but it's been working well for 3.5 years. I didn't understand point number three.

Don Cable

commented on Mar 13, 2015

excellent article. This is worth reading and applying. Thank you,

Brenda Phillips

commented on Mar 13, 2015

I'm Brenda Phillip age 78 I know the feeling

Tim Wallace

commented on Mar 13, 2015

This is so good. I don't consider myself "there" yet (I'm a mere "pup" at 55) :), but you don't suddenly decide to take these steps at 70 either. These are traits we should all be praying the Holy Spirit will develop in us daily, as we age. Thank you, Peter!,

Brenda Phillips

commented on Mar 13, 2015

Point # 7 I'm a Bible person my Son said I spend 80 of my time reading the Bible. Peter thank you I really enjoy reading your massages.

Rev. Marsha Lee-Watson

commented on Mar 13, 2015

This is wonderful advise, I truly welcome it. Im a elder young Preacher. I m 67 years old. Ive been a Minister since 2010.

Wayne Taylor

commented on Mar 14, 2015

I have been in the ministry for 47 years, 22 of which in denominational service. I now pastor a part-time, growing church. Your advice is right on. I have seen some of the shifts in my life and agree whole-heartedly with you. Thanks for your wisdom.

Joe Mckeever

commented on Mar 14, 2015

I'm about to hit 75 and still running here and there to preach, and am loving it. Your advice is excellent.

Anonymous

commented on Mar 15, 2015

Rev Lyall Phillips(retired Australia) At 80 years of age I still eagerly look forward to opportunities to preach and teach the word. nevertheless it is alarmingly possible to project attitudes which follow the well worn "wheel tracks" of past experiences. A fine wakeup article for we of advanced age. Thanks so much

Michael Karpf

commented on Mar 15, 2015

Excellent article. I am 65 years old, and I have applied to the Doctor of Ministry program at Dallas Theological Seminary. Howard Hendricks (Prof) said, "If you stop learning today, you stop growing tomorrow."

Dr. Luke Kauffman

commented on Mar 15, 2015

Having actively pastored for 50 years in wonderful churches, I whole heartedly concur with your observations and wise counsel. Well done, my brother in CHRIST!

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