The late George Younce who was the bass singer for the Cathedral Quartet, is remembered for a phrase he often used. He would look over at his singing partner, Glen Payne, and say, "I love old people, I really do." The audience would always erupt in laughter.
Recently I had one person ask me; "what will happen when all of the old people die that are in the Church?" To this I replied, "there is never a shortage of old people." A fact of life is that we all get older. As one generation passes there is another one to take its place. All too often in my years in the Gospel ministry, I have heard some well meaning people say things like: "the youth are the future of the Church," or "a Church without young people is a dying Church." I understand what they are trying to say but I'm going to be very blunt here when I say, the elderly generation in the Church is the life-blood of the Church. It is the older congregants who are the most devoted, the most prayerful, the most caring, the most sharing, the most giving, the most faithful, and from what I've witnessed, the hardest working.
So many Churches are spending all of their time, resources, and money on trying to attract young people to their Churches all while neglecting the older crowd. They change their music style (which nearly none of the older folks like), they change their worship style (which nearly none of the older folks like) and they change their preaching style (which absolutely none of the older folks like). The problem with all of these changes is that they are only fads. They are popular one day and out of style the next, so one must move on to the next fad to try and appeal to some young person. Too many Churches are driving their older congregants away from Church by doing this.
In Paul's writing to Timothy (who by the way was a younger pastor) he is instructing him on the ways of the Church. He says in 1Timothy 3:15 "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Did you see that? The Bible says that the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth." Sadly, by changing the Church to worldly music styles, rock type worship, and feel-good messages, you are chipping away at the foundation of the Church and you are no longer "the pillar and ground of the truth." You are simply an imitation of the world.
You may say, "well, isn't it good that we are attracting young people to the Church?" That all depends. Are they simply attracted to the things that they can get in the world, or are they attracted to the message of Jesus Christ? A Church without the message of Jesus Christ is not a Church at all, it is simply a social club. Is your goal just to fill up a building, or is your goal to teach and preach Jesus Christ? Young people can go to any of the world's venues to hear the world's music and messages. They need to know that the LORD's Church is different. It's not like the world, it is something out of this world. As Pastor Clarence Sexton often says, "the world doesn't need another copy of itself."
You may counter with "well, we've been seeing these young people get saved." That is good if that is truly the case. May I remind you of one of the most sobering messages from the Lord Jesus which is found in Matthew 7:20-21 "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." This applies to people of all ages, not just the older, wiser Christian, but the young one's as well.
I have personally witnessed young people that are attracted to some huge "youth event" where they flash the lights, beat the drums, and burst the ears with loud music and a feel-good pep talk, and they make some type of profession of faith. Then everyone goes out celebrating and talking about how many they saw saved at this so-called "youth event". The problem is I have seen these same young people that claim they "got saved," go right back to living the same way, acting the same way, speaking the same way, and have no further interest in the things of God than they did before. Oh they may come to Church for a while during the early stages but eventually the excitement wears off and they slip right back into the world from which they came and long for.
I can't even begin to tell you the number of people that I have heard from over the years that tell me after they got older they realized that they were never truly saved. They had only professed they had out of some feeling of guilt or because everyone else was doing it, or they got caught up in the excitement. Many have fallen into the "1-2-3 repeat after me" salvation, or the holding up of the hand if you want to be saved salvation. But they had never truly repented of their sins and by faith trusted the Lord Jesus as their Savior.
Now, having said all of this you probably think I am against young people in the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think a Church should have a good mix of both young and old people, however, the message I am trying to convey here is the fact that many Churches have neglected their most important resource, and that is the older generation.It's time to stop catering to the whims and passing fancies of the young crowd and focus on being "the pillar and ground of the truth."
I leave you with these words from the Psalmist: "O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come." Psalm 71:17-18