8 Things the Oldies at Church Know and Won’t Tell You

26 June 2019

3.9 MINS

In most churches, there are some older folk around the place who have been walking with Jesus longer than most of us have been alive. Older people whose faith lasts the distance all seem to have things in common that they all know. They are also all fairly quiet — they have learnt not to meddle and not to give endless advice (there are busybodies who never stop talking and they aren’t the people I mean).

Most of these things, your pastor won’t tell you either, for various reasons. Don’t use these things to judge someone else’s relationship with God. These are things I have learnt the hard way over the last 20 years. Ignoring them won’t make you “not saved”.

1. Worship God on your own time. God actually wants us to tell Him how good He is, because He really is that good. Not just on Sundays, but the rest of the week too. You know how to sit and look into the eyes of someone you love… do that for God, too. It’s commandment #1 of the 10 commandments and the 2 commandments because it’s important to Him.

2. Read or listen to the Bible every day. If a pastor gets up and says “You have to read the Bible every day” the response is usually either, “Who are you to tell me what to do!” or “that’s salvation by works!” Your salvation doesn’t depend on reading the Bible every single day. Reading your Bible is much like eating food. You can eat no food for a week and be fine, but if you pretty much never eat it won’t change you for the better. While reading the Bible, you will come across things that don’t make sense — no matter how long you’ve been a Christian. Go and find someone whose faith you respect and ask them what they make of it, and keep asking people you respect until someone can explain it to you.

3. Pray until you pray, but don’t brag about it. Your pastor probably wants to know you have been praying because it’s an encouragement to them. When you have been praying through things until you have peace — and it can take days, it really can — it is discernible. Just like when you’ve been working at a petrol station you smell like petrol, when you’ve been praying it shows. Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father in Heaven, who sees what is done in secret, (Matt 6:6) and rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb 11:6).

4. What your obvious sins are. There are probably a few busybodies who will tell you what they think you are doing wrong, but the spiritual giants around you usually won’t. Your pastor probably won’t, as criticism is a great way to offend people and have them leave the church. It’s important to sit quietly, maybe as you read your Bible, and ask God to show you what things in your life He isn’t happy with and wants to be changed. He’ll bring them to your attention and help you change. It’s also much better to ask Him in private than have Him get someone else to tell you in public.

5. Shut up and stop complaining. I’m a millennial and we’re great at venting, complaining and letting off steam about everything, online and off. However, while the Bible does say to carry each other’s burdens, it also says to do everything without complaining or arguing (Phil 2:14). While it’s wise to let a couple of people know if you’re having a rough time, that’s not the same as having something to complain about every time you talk to someone.

6. You only need to do what God has asked YOU to do. Jesus didn’t heal everyone in Israel. In Luke 4.23-27 he refuses to heal people in Capernaum, and explains Elijah and Elisha were only sent to certain people too. At church, someone needs to be on the morning tea roster etc. to have the formal service run smoothly, but it’s important not to worship the formal meeting itself. God has things He wants you to do and if you are too busy doing jobs that aren’t your calling, you won’t be able to do things you ARE called to do.

7. Faith is when you know what God has said and you believe Him. Trusting He will do something He hasn’t actually said He will, isn’t faith, it’s presumption. Sometimes God uses scripture out of exegetical context to explain to someone what He wants to do through them, but that’s not a good reason to claim Bible verses that sound good and start trying to use them to make God do things that He hasn’t promised. Faith is being certain of what you do not see — and if you know God has said it, you can be certain that sooner or later it will happen. In order to know what God has said and trust Him, you need to be in the word, reading, studying and memorising it until it starts coming out of you as you go about your life day to day.

8. Beware operating under someone else’s anointing. There’s an effect that sometimes happens with ministries which I have noticed over the years. When Jesus sent out His disciples in Luke Chapter 10, they hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet — but were operating under Jesus’ ministry and anointing. In Numbers 22 God, by His power, even spoke through a donkey! Sometimes when you are in a church, you will see God working in your life, but you have been neglecting your own walk with God. Don’t. A hundred times over, don’t! It’s so important to not be fooled by the things you’ve seen and done. It is so important to be seen and known by your heavenly Father, on your own time. Don’t be one of the ones who on the last day stands and says “but I did so many things in Your name!” and hears, ‘depart from me, I never knew you.

Anyway, enough from me – What have you learnt that you could add to this list?

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  1. Leigh 26 June 2019 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Very interesting read and I feel convicted on some points (although I’m 67 & would like to be one of the wise, older people you refer to, I haven’t been a Christian for long enough ????). Will share your post ????

    • Alison Keen 29 June 2019 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Thankyou for your comment – I am sure you have many things you have learnt and I would love to hear them

  2. Walter Crawford 28 June 2019 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Hi, great points presented here, this Sunday service we are calling our elderly for prayer.this will be for their generations and for God to bless those that come after them.
    Highlight from Gods promise to Abraham through changes in those generations but an unchanged promise .
    In those generations praying that God will raise up Ministry due to our elderly folks Faithfulness and prayer.
    Lot of points have been an affirmation to no end
    Thank you again Walter

  3. Melissa 28 June 2019 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Wow. Love this. Please keep writing

  4. Melissa 28 June 2019 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Wow. Love this.
    Thanks for your insights and honour.

  5. Pendlebury Margaret 28 June 2019 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Well written Alison and wise advice. I am an 80+ young at heart daughter of the King of Kings and have led a blessed life. Lots of mountain top experiences, and even more valley experiences. My passion has been mentoring younger women to reach their potential, and of recent years been asked to do just that. Seems God is able to use us if we have a heart after Him!

    • Aranka.K 30 June 2019 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      thank you Margaret I am greatly encouraged & inspiried by your words…. I am in my very late 50’s & I needed to read this today bless you

  6. Gloria Nolan 28 June 2019 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you Alison for your insights. It is easy to felt in the busy body and neglect our precious quite time with our beloved Father. It is just being with Him in the secret and sacred room. God bless you with His wisdom understanding peace joy and love every day. And yes the quiet old beautiful elders in our church are the wise and our spiritual fathers such a blessing for us to learn to identify them and follow their example.

  7. Sindy.Millington 29 June 2019 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Thank you Alison, I am from Adelaide and have been a Christian since 1979. I found you post refreshing. It is great to have someone consider you still relevant as you get older. I have learnt most of the lessons you shared but still learning and trusting daily , but more so now. In quietness and confidence is your strength

  8. Jack 29 June 2019 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Fascinating and timely read. Thank you.
    6. Reminds me of a saying a wise friend kept telling me, ‘good is the enemy of best’

    • Alison Keen 29 June 2019 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      That’s a great quote!

  9. Geoff Earl 29 June 2019 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Great article, Alison! I hadn’t realised you were so involved in this ministry, and especially in the Australian Christian Values Institute. God bless you and Nathan and family, and keep up the good work!

    • Alison Keen 11 July 2019 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Geoff! God bless you and Sigrid too!

  10. Pauline Jodrell 29 June 2019 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Hello Alison, are you saying old people know this but don’t share it or that old people should read this and use your suggestions? I’ve read through the introduction several times and the instructions once and although I agree with most of what you say or is it what you have learned from ‘oldies’? Pauline

    • Alison Keen 11 July 2019 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      That’s a good question Pauline. I was commenting that these are things i can see in the lives of many or most of the older saints i know and have known. Where i have asked, they have confirmed these things but are generally very circumspect about telling what they know.

  11. Anne Box 2 July 2019 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Dear Alison,

    I have read your post of Email from Prayer network – the Canberra declaration. It was so good, I have sent it to 2 other people. Thank you.

    Are you and Nathan related to Terry Keen who was at Colac Apostolic Church. I attended there about 20 years ago, after being at Colac Church of Christ. I have lost track of the people from there, except for a few. I moved to Torquay to be part of a healing ministry.

    Your Church sounds to be a very good one. Jesus is in the business of building His Church. His inheritance is His people. Praise Him.

    Yours faithfully,

    Anne Box.

    • Alison Keen 11 July 2019 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Dear Anne,

      Thankyou for your kind words.

      I don’t know Colac Apostolic Church or Terry, if we are related it isn’t particularly closely.

      We have been blessed with lovely church family.

      Many Blessings to you also


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