The Small Church is, without doubt, the largest demographic of congregations within American evangelical Christianity. Churches of 125 or less compose 80% of the visible kingdom. That being true, what is the largest demographic within the Small Church?
The answer to that question probably differs from congregation to congregation. However, from my experience and observation, the Small Church’s most stable demographic are the senior adults. Notice, I changed language on you. I went from largest to most stable. Your largest might be your youth or children. It might be your middle adults but the group that represents the backbone of your church is its seniors. While other groups may be larger they are not as stable as the seniors. They aren’t as important either.
The senior adults in the Small Church are the most faithful givers. The majority of the tithers and givers in my church are my seniors. They are the ones that lead the way in gifts to the general fund as well as the mission offerings. They’re as regular as the sunrise.
The senior adults in the Small Church should be the teachers (either explicitly or implicitly). These are the elders both in age and experience in Christianity. They must teach! The seniors in my church are the ones who support and attend every service even if they have to come from a distance to do it. The young families in the church need the example of long-tenured marriages, membership in the congregation, and toughness when things go wrong.
The senior adults in the Small Church should be the biggest supporters of the pastor. There is an order of leadership mentioned in the Bible. The seniors in your congregation understand that order and in most case are the ones to show the pastor proper respect. If they don’t communicate that to the other families the authority and position of the pastor will continue to erode.
The senior adults in the Small Church are the history department. They archive the history of the church and the denomination. It is imperative that the families of the church access that information before it is gone. We are on the verge of forgetting who we are and why we are. The trend of no-name, non-denominational congregations have taken a toll on the established denominational church. The senior adults can stem that tide by reminding us of our shared history. They must speak!
“A gray head is a crown of glory, it is found in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31