A Note from Chris Adams: Often on the Internet (including on this blog), we read letters written from younger women to older women. In this post, written by Susan Lawrence, a ministry consultant and blogger, you will see just the opposite. I know this post will speak to you as it did to me.
To the young women at church (and those considering church),
Please don’t rule us out just because we’re older than you. We might wear different clothes and talk about different things, but we are not all that different from you. We have some of the same hurts, questions, and longings.
Please give us a second chance…and a third and fourth. We might not reach out right away or remember your name, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care. Sometimes, we’re just as insecure and uncertain as you are about reaching out to new people.
Please be persistent and share your ideas, hearts, and hands. We need you. It might look like we’ve fallen into a rut at times, and to be honest, sometimes we have, but we know your enthusiasm and energy can help propel us forward. We need you.
Please don’t think we have all the answers, but realize we do have some. When we share our experiences with you, we’re not trying to tell you how to do things. We just want to share life with you, and that requires give and take by all of us.
Please know we’re not perfect. You’ll see some hypocrisy in our lives, but as you get to know us better, you’ll also see us authentically struggling through our issues in order to grow. We can all struggle together.
Please don’t reject an idea just because it’s not exactly what you would choose. We have a lot more in common than not. Let’s listen to and respect each other as we try one another’s ideas. We’ll likely discover some fun along the way.
Please don’t throw us all into one category (“those older ladies”), whether it’s good or bad. We want to be known as the individuals we are, just as you do. You are not completely defined by the generalizations of your generation. Neither are we.
Please laugh with us. We all need humor. It’s something we can share. Let’s find it in the seriousness and tension of everyday life. Let’s be silly together.
Please serve with us and invite us to serve with you. Let’s listen to each other’s passions. Let’s unite with each other to meet other people’s needs.
Please help us pass the baton of ministry and faith by reaching out your hand, then running with the possibilities. We’re sorry when we get territorial and selfish. It’s just that we’ve invested a lot for many years. But we need you. We need your fresh perspective. We commit to being your biggest cheerleaders when things go well and when they don’t. We’ll use our “been there, done that” to encourage you, not to tear you down.
Let’s quit separating ourselves by calling ourselves “us” and “them,” “older” and “younger.” Let’s find what we have in common and stand on that ground, forging our identity together, letting others see that we can set aside differences and move forward in unity. Let’s allow our differences to complement one another so that people can see the possibilities of the church.
Your sister in Christ and fellow servant in ministry
Susan Lawrence is a Ministry Consultant who is passionate about helping women lead and serve in healthy ways. She recently released Mombarded: A Devotional Journey: When Motherhood Bombards Your Heart, Mind, and Life. Connect with her at PurePurpose.org