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I Say “Baloney!”
by Silas Shotwell

    Read the want-ads:

  • “WANTED: Pulpit Minister. Prefer man between ages of 25 and 40.”
  • “WANTED: Experienced Senior Minister. No one over 45 need apply.”
  • “WANTED: Associate Minister. Married, children, Bible college degree, must be young enough to be able to relate to young families.”

    These are actual ads. I could list hundreds of such ads.

    There is a serious preacher shortage today. It is increasing by the day. But the job openings for preachers past fifty are usually with small churches in Arizona or North Dakota where there are either lots of retired people or too few people to be picky.

    Can you imagine a Hollywood producer contacting Harrison Ford and saying, “We’ve got a little role for you because we’re producing a film that will appeal to old people. We know you couldn’t draw anyone below 50.”

    In fact, Clint Eastwood was recently cited as still the most sought after actor in Hollywood. And he’s 67!

    Where did we get off on this thing that the only good preacher is a young preacher?

Hey, Moses didn’t start until he was 80!
    I have asked lots of elders why they prefer young ministers. The usual answer is that they are concerned with dwindling numbers of teens and young families and they think a younger minister can relate better to those age groups.

    The more candid ones, who know I will not use their names, say that they can pay younger preachers less and that they will also be more easily controlled by the leaders.

    I’m certainly not against hiring young ministers. There are some good ones out there.

    But there are also some good ones past 50, 60, and even 70. I often hear men say, “I have more to offer now than I ever have in my life. I am smarter, wiser, more dedicated. But no one wants me.” I think it is a tragedy.

    Hey, Moses didn’t start until he was 80!

    I’ve suddenly realized that I’ve used a lot of exclamation marks to make my point. I guess I feel pretty strongly about this. Could it be because I’m facing my 60th this year? Probably.

    I’m not looking for a job. I’m very content where I am, doing what I’m doing. I also feel very appreciated.

    But... there are so many good men who are not even considered for job openings, special speaking appointments, or writing assignments. They are “too old,” “past their prime,” “not able to relate to the young people.” They’ve done their service, finished their course, and have been set on the shelf.

    And to all that I say, “Baloney!”

    I think the part I resent the most is the part about not relating to youth. I know more about youth now than when I was a youth. I actually relate to youth better now than when I was young. So again, I say, “Baloney!”

    Well... I got all that off my chest. I feel much better now. In fact, I’m feeling so good that I think I’ll treat myself to a movie. How about going to the see the recent hit movie Apostle, starring Robert Duvall, age 67?


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
1998 Silas Shotwell. Used by permission.
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