These days when I meet with elderly members, they will sometimes express what they are expecting from the church. I have discovered that some expectations are beyond what our church can reach. Some expect for our church to provide “Elder College” similar to what is being offered by one of the local Korean churches, while others expect the church to buy burial plots to be used in the future for them when they pass away.
The image of church that these members are thinking of is a church working more like a community center. In the early days of America, a church was built first when a town was founded. Naturally the church became the center of life and acted like a community center as well. Even today you can observe this role in small rural towns whenever you visit them. The pastor will serve the role of town counselor, and whenever a wedding or funeral takes place, the whole town will come together in the church for the event. Recently I had a chance to experience this when I attended a funeral in a small town nearby and felt the warm closeness of the town. But it is difficult for churches located in a large city like us to be like this.
In reality, one church cannot excel at all areas.
This generation is so diverse and demands so many different things that we cannot fulfill all the needs of all the members. No matter the demand, it will take energy and resources. Therefore, instead of trying to do many things, we need to concentrate on one or two important things. This is why each church has to reflect on the ministry that God gave it and obey His wishes. We have been called to become a reflection of the New Testament church by “saving souls and making disciples” through House Church. If we are to start programs like “Elder College”, there is a danger that our special mission may become secondary to these other programs.
Even though we are considering ways to fulfill the needs of our elderly members, there are not many things we can do. I have already allowed elderly members to have their House Church meeting during the daytime for the consideration of those who have difficulty driving at night and have also started House Church meeting on Sundays at church. We will increase the number of Sunday House churches because we think that we will have more and more elderly people. I will continue to meet elderly members to find out their needs, but there are not many things that we can do except for a few things like special health seminars once or twice a year as some have suggested.
It is clear that the church is a mission-based community. If someone starts to think that the church has to do something for him or her, then it is natural to become dissatisfied and hard to be a part of the church. I would be very thankful if our elderly members remembered the hard work that they have done for our church’s mission and continue to push and support the younger members in their endeavors to fulfill this mission.
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