There was a time when the church and women’s Christian ministry groups were the refuge of aging women, places where we could continue to be useful well into old age.
When we were no longer actively bearing and raising children or were retired from our careers, we could become more active in the church and ministries, confident our maturity, experience and wisdom would be honored and appreciated.
Knowing there is no mandatory retirement age for the Christian allowed us to accept new challenges and responsibilities, growing ever deeper in our faith, and we were respected for our spiritual maturity.
We were confident of our usefulness as we aged, because of the certain knowledge that when we are no longer relevant in this life, God will take us to our eternal assignment.
In my lifetime, the church has adopted a modern attitude, placing an emphasis on youth, with a corresponding devaluation of maturity and experience.
This comes from the business world where new, cutting edge ideas are glorified, while tradition and prevailing wisdom are equated with a lack of vision.
The older woman in the congregation or ministry is no longer valued as a mentor in this youth culture, but is instead patronized or shamed into ‘getting with the program’ and taking her cues from the younger women, even in areas where they may have considerably less experience.
Churches and ministries, in their efforts to appear youthful and vibrant, so as to attract more young and vibrant members, are pushing their older members aside or to the back, not only in their promotional photos, but in the life of the ministry.
There doesn’t seem to a place anymore for an old church lady like me to serve.
Yet, I’m still here, so God must have a use for me. Too bad it isn’t in the church or ministry I helped to build ─ when I, too, was young, vibrant and relevant.