Should I pastor a church that has no young women and children for my family?

A man wrote me recently struggling through a call to a particular church.  It is a church that is financially stable for now, but needs revitalization that only has a few faithful elderly folks.  This is a very common scenario.  He was concerned that the church had no kids or younger women that would provide some friendship and fellowship for his wife and children.  He was asking if this is a good enough reason not to go to a church.  An excellent, valid question and one I know many of you are asking also.  Here was part of my reply:

Good to hear from you.  Great question that reveals some valid concerns.  I came into a very similar church 11 years ago minus the financial stability.  Average age was 80.  No kids or young women.  Now a fourth of the church are little kids with an average age of 35.  It would be disingenuousness for me to tell you that these things are deal breakers and that God doesn’t want you to go to that church because of them.  Often times, God uses a younger pastor and family to help bring that new life of the younger generation into the church.  Having said that, it is hard and will be hard for your family.  You may not see the same results I did and that is ok.  You need to realize that this will be an investment of many years.  Financial stability is huge in my mind as that buys you more years to hang in there.  Other than that, you and your wife need to be up for the hard years in the beginning.  In the mean time, it is a good stretch for each of you to try and find those friendships with those not in your peer group in the church.  It will also be essential to look for some support for your family outside the church with other pastors and their families in your area.  Blessings on you.  Walk through the process with this particular church and trust God opening and closing doors as you do.
Pastors and aspiring pastors, a church not having folks your age in the church generally should not be a deal breaker.  In fact, you and your faithful energetic ministry may be exactly what God uses to turn the church around.  But, make no mistake, it is hard, hard work.  It will be hard on your family.  Make sure you and your wife are all in before going there.  However, trust me in this:  It is a great gift from the Lord to watch God fill your church over the years with that missing generation and meaningful friendships coming from that group when there was a time where there were none.
Posted in The Pastor's Soul, Training for Ministry
7 comments on “Should I pastor a church that has no young women and children for my family?
  1. Jeremy says:

    I came to my church 3 years ago. My wife and I were the youngest members by 20 years. Since then, we have drastically reduced in average age with 7 or 8 families under the age of 35.

  2. Joe says:

    Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (KJV) Remember that you will be working with the current leadership team in this endeavor. Clarify that you are both set on going the same direction (your goal) and prayerfully discuss how you intend to get there (your path). Unity is key not only for the goal, which is easy to come to an agreement on, but also the actions taken to get there (the path). The path is likely where the challenge will be. I’m not a pastor, but relate heavily to being the only family in a church for several years. As an elder and member of the pastor search committee, it would have been ideal (in my opinion) to bring in a young pastor with a family. But unity is key and we weren’t all committed to the same path, there was a desire for growth and a younger generation but fleshing out that path to get there was very challenging.

  3. Allen Mickle says:

    I went to a small church of mostly elderly people. After awhile of no growth, the deacons forced me out. A year later, the church closed. Certainly we think we did good there, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, it’s not going to work.

  4. As a pastor’s wife where we came in and were tne only ones under the age of 60 for years…. we learned that those old people make great friends! They have stories to tell, love your kids and just make wonderful people to have around! We live in a retirement area and love the retired generation. We’ve soon been here 32 years and before too many more years, we’ll be some of the “gray heads and nearly deads!” Who said that a church of gray heads has to be dead? I don’t think that was a fair assessment at all.. to state that it might need revitalization… We have a slew of 82 year olds in our church who are amazing.. one is our pianist, two others are deacons, one of whom cleaned the church up until 2 years ago, and another was our church secretary until she turned 80 and we still go to her for advice on how to do stuff! !! Young people have a lot to learn from the retirees!

    If your church is in an area of constantly “turning” seniors, there’s no need to think that a church full of retirees is nearly dead!

    • Brian Croft says:

      Rachael,

      Great point and grateful to hear how the Lord has been at work and continues to work in your church. My point is that the church is supposed to be multi-generational (Titus 2) for the young and old have different roles that display the gospel. Excited to hear about your energetic church with many seasoned in it.

  5. Luke Vasicek says:

    I loved this article, thank you very much Pastor Brian!

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