A few weeks ago, I wrote to a Christian publication who had carried a job advertisement which was a ‘very rare breed’. I asked them to publish my letter on their ‘Letters Page,’ which they did. The advertisement had been for a SENIORS PASTOR at a Church in London. I wrote because in our day this is certainly a very rare occurrence and I wrote to publicly commend the members of this Church for their commitment to the ministry amongst Seniors. I could not remember seeing any such advertisement in the last many years, so this was a great encouragement to me and I am sure to other Organisations involved in ministry amongst older people. However, the question needed to be asked and still needs to be asked as to why we don’t see more of this? After all, we are all very aware of the demographic changes ahead, including such things as 20% of all those alive today will live until they are over 100 years old.
Outlook Trust has been challenging the Church, especially over the past two years, to widen their vision to include mission and ministry to and among older people, as well as mission and ministry to younger. We should not ignore either at the expense of the other. It would be very interesting to know how many ‘Chaplains to older people’ there are both in the Church of England and the other Major Denominations’ locally and nationally, compared with the number of Youth Workers and Youth Pastors. If the number of job advertisements is anything to go by, there is a gigantic mismatch between the two.
I was encouraged by this one advertisement and it was and is my prayer that it might be the beginning of something new in the Church. In my letter I asked those with this same burden to join with me in this. To my joy, just after this, a Church in the South West contacted me for help in compiling a job-description for a Seniors Pastor, which now makes two posts. We do need to pray on so that two becomes four and four becomes eight and so on — WILL YOU JOIN WITH US IN PRAYING FOR MORE POSTS TO BE RAISED UP.
Norman V. Critchell
Director of Outlook Trust