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An Overlooked Sunday School Resource

Older adults in the church can be a tremendous blessing, especially in Sunday school.

An older man was heard to say, "I have retired from church work" after being asked to serve on a committee for his church.

Some older adults because of physical or other limitations are not able to serve.

The Bible has many examples of people serving well into their old age - Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David and Paul to mention a few.

The Bible says much about serving the Lord and our fellow man. Psalm 100:2 "serve the Lord with gladness" and Galatians 5:13 "serve one another." The largest adult population in most churches are the 55 plus age group. These people have a wealth of talents, special abilities and life experience that they could bring to Sunday school as leaders and teachers of young people and children. Yet in most instances this valuable resource is overlooked!

The reasons for older adults not getting involved are wide and varied. Let's examine some of them now, with a view to helping Sunday schools utilise this valuable resource.

Older members are reluctant to volunteer, even if they would like to be involved. They may feel they should step aside for younger people.
Some doubt their own abilities, are their methods of teaching out of date.
Some question their ability to relate to a younger generation.
Reluctance from Sunday school leaders to ask those that have given considerable time in the past. They perhaps feel they have done their part and don't like to bother them.

It is possible for older members to feel lonely and unimportant so as a church we owe it to them and ourselves to involve them in the work of Sunday school. Some of the important qualities that church leaders can overlook are:

Retired people can often have more time to prepare for lessons and take an interest in younger members.
Older members generally have life experiences that can be shared with younger people.

In today's society where the family unit can be split, children and young people may not get exposure to an older generation. So it is helpful for them to see the Christian life from a different perspective.

Sunday school work offers the older members a chance to serve the Lord, as long as they are able, and the advantage of sharing their faith with younger members.

It is important for Sunday school leaders to remind and encourage older adults of their talents and abilities that can be used for service. Not forgetting to tell them how much they are appreciated. Older workers are one of the greatest resources available to our Sunday schools today. Utilizing their skills and talents, to the glory of God, should be a continuing goal of every Sunday school.

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