2/01/2009

Welcome to Middle Age!

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Just in case you are in your low 30's--here are the "12 steps" ahead of you for the next 30 years--"middle adulthood."

keith drury

7 comments:

Elizabeth Glass-Turner said...

A question, and an observation.

Maybe I'm not feeling some of the upcoming middle age issues simply because I'm not there yet, but I tend to have a pretty flexible imagination; and I felt like I wasn't connecting emotionally with several of the descriptions. So my question is, how much does gender affect what a person experiences, and when? Perhaps this is because I'm really flexible with women's roles at home, work, in the ministry - and I wonder how women deal with middle age, as opposed to men? And single women? I tend to feel like women's defining "issues" are more related to identity than output, whereas men's identity is almost always inherently related to their output. If there's a difference there, then how will women read their changing situations, versus men?

Observation: many churches have a huge opportunity to minister coming up with aging boomers. And I think it will be a defining ministerial challenge for the next couple decades - in particular, ministries to those with parents in nursing homes, and a distinct theology on death and dying. What is holy dying? The church must answer this question to extend compassionate, effective ministry over the next twenty or thirty years - and it's something that relates to the church on other continents, like Africa, too.

Ken said...

keith, i definitely think the 'serve' component of churches can contribute to the emotional health of middle-aged people. helping people understand that you "gain when you give yourself away" can potentially reduce some of the stressors of the midlife crisis and even help avoid stagnation.

i turned 40 this year, and i can identify somewhat with the issues you mentioned, especially regarding teenagers and marriage. but i will tell you - my wife and i worked through some significant issues after my own parents' marriage disintegrated ten years ago (we had been married six years at the time). though it was horrific to see their relationship end in divorce after 28+ years, the experience brought a health and authenticity to my own marriage that has made us stronger than ever.

thanks for the reminder that i'm now middle-aged (or even beyond the middle at this point - haha!). i hope i'll see an increase in faith, productivity, and effectiveness now that i'm finally in my sweet spot - which is actually how i feel these days.

in fact, i think there's something GREAT about middle age: i now feel old enough to have just a little bit of wisdom, yet young enough to have just a little energy left to get some significant things done for the Kingdom!

oh yeah, and one more thing: now that i'm 40, people actually seem to listen to some of the SAME things i used to say in my 20's and 30's... what's up with that?!

Keith Drury said...

Thanks for the comments Elisabeth and Ken... my columns are like my messages... those I work the hardest on get the least comments;-)

Pastor Al said...

Keith...

You missed me! Turned 60 this last year. Thinking about it...my formal calling came at 55. There has been some significant changes and areas of rapid growth. I am now half way through the IWU online masters program. However, I sense the clock ticking...perhaps ten to fifteen good years left.

The real issue is that these are good good years. God has called me into some rich experiences...that money can't buy. I am not sure that one can truly live until they have prepared to die. There is something viable about surrendering to the Giver of Life.

Thanks for reminding us and challenging us to LIVE life in Christ. Thanks for prodding us to preach to the real needs...even for the 30++.

pk said...

Wow...for me this column will be in the "good as gold" category. There's a lot for me personally to stew on here, but also ministerially.

From the perspective of someone who was a pastor of a multi-generational church in my younger 20's, I longed to connect meaningfully with older persons. I was confident I was able to do that around certain truths and realities of life, but sometimes felt lacking when it came to specifics. As I read through this list, I see no reason why a pastor in their 20's couldn't explicitly name some of these life experiences even though they haven't experienced them first hand.

In other words, I think this post can be a great set of tools to put in the toolbox of a 20's minister.

David Long, Jr. said...

The idea of touching our world right where they live is a tesimony of Dr. Drury's vision for Ezekiel's Wheels. This is a cycling outreach that invites youth, and youth at heart to experience adventure, discipleship, and evangelism by cycling the roadways of the USA and our world. During these several weeks of cycling you will inevitable meet people from all crosswalks of life, therefore opening the door for interaction with those people. Non-threatening contact between our world and Christians. Thank you Dr. Drury for your vision to create opportunity to share Jesus with our generation in the crossroads of America and Countries of the world.

Keith Drury said...

Hey Dave Long!

What a delight to hear from you... long time ago when we rode bikes from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada as a discipleship-outreach trip... I think it might have been in 1974. If I was the Moses for that vision, you were the Joshua--you carried it on to even today--as you reinvest many times over in the lives of young people...

(For what its worth--I'm back into biking after 20 years of backpacking--so I'll see you on the road some day!)

coach D.