A colleague of mine continually refers to the emerging leaders in the church. When he speaks of them, he is referring to those under 40 who are finding their voice in the church in new ways. In a recent meeting, I challenged him on his definition, because I believe that people of all ages can be emerging leaders in the church and in the world.
It seems to me that there are many churches and people whom are stagnant, frozen in time of a day gone by, but when anyone begins to understand what God requires of them, they come alive! The church I am serving now has been set on fire by the power of the Holy Spirit! They are mostly people over 50 years old, but they are emerging, just like the butterfly from a cocoon! It is amazing to see! Anyone of any age can discover their passions and purpose and emerge as new creations. As a second career pastor, I know this is possible. We are never too old to make a difference in the world and there is no foul if we should not realize our full potential until later in life. God has a purpose for us all of our days and does not show partiality to only the young. God’s grace and mercy is with us always and forever.
Consider Pete Seeger, who recently passed away at the age of 94 years young. He never stopped influencing people nor did he stop reinventing himself. He always found ways to be active and involved. I recently found out that he had been encouraging a group of young children between the age of 8 and 12 to sing. Pete actually won a Grammy for the album that the children and he produced entitled “Tomorrow’s Children”. The video below is of one song he did with them when he was 91 to honor the life of Bob Dylan. He participated in the event because he was a close friend of Bob Dylan but also because it benefited Amnesty International. His singing voice is gone but he still found ways to give back. When you watch this video, listen to what one young person says about Pete at the end.
For me, we have the potential at any age to be emerging leaders! Yes, it is great when young people find their voice, but do not discount the value that the older generations can still bring to our church and our world!