Why ain’t this your grandma’s church?

Written by Joel on November 6th, 2009

elderlycrossingThe Christian radio station here offers free advertising to local churches. A pastor gets about a minute to tell about their church and invite newcomers to attend. One local church ended their ad with “This ain’t your grandma’s church.” Googling the phrase showed that it is a fairly popular advertising campaign among churches these days.

I can completely understand how this might appeal to youth culture: “Woah, look dude! That church is totally dope. They speak my language by using the word aint, I am totally going to check out that joint and give my life to Jesus!”

But what gives with hating on grandma? What has she ever done to the church besides attend faithfully over the years, offer brownies at every bake sale, and sing every hymn even when others were too afraid to sing? Grandma doesn’t turn away the young folk. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard an elderly lady tell me “it is so wonderful to see young people in church these days.” So why are these churches saying grandma ain’t welcome here?

Okay, okay. I’m sure that’s not what they are saying. I’m sure The Ain’t Grandma’s Church wouldn’t turn away old folk at the door – but don’t think you are going to come in here and make us sing hymns (from hymnals and with an organ!), sit in pews, or wear choir robes! No ma’am! That’s, well that’s just…old.

Don’t down play the old people. An inter-generational Bible study played a significant role in the development of my calling to Christian ministry. I was 15 at the time. There were also young adults, working parents, and retired people more than 4 times my age. I am eternally grateful for their wisdom and guidance that old folk have offered me personally and the church as a whole. The counsel of scripture is clear that the elderly are a vital part of the church and ought to be honored.

Old church folk are full of wisdom. They will be the first ones to say “What does the Bible say about this? Maybe Oreos and milk are NOT proper elements for communion. No, you cannot play soccer in the sanctuary. Stop texting, you are in church! Speak up pastor, don’t you know I’m old?”

This Sunday give grandma a hug at church and tell her that she is most welcome here – that it sure is nice to see old folk in the church these days. The Church teaches that Christianity is universal. That is, it extends through all of time and is for all peoples; regardless of race, gender, or age. I’m tired of the church continuing to segment itself, especially by age. If this ain’t grandma’s church, I’m not so sure it can be called a church at all.

Do you belong to an Ain’t Grandma’s Church? How does your church honor it’s elders?


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rebecca says:

    All I can say is, Amen. Well said, prophet!

  2. Bethany says:

    Thanks for this message! Mind if I share it with my pastors at my church and pass it on?

  3. j merton says:

    Good point. Buick tried the same buzz, with negative results.

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