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When Does God Stop Calling Us to Ministry?

April 29, 2023

Dean McIntyre is a friend and colleague and an absolute genius about so many things of which music is but one. Here’s what he recently shared about his father, and about aging, and about ministry, but most of all about God —

From five years ago when Dad was still with us.

CARING FOR AN ELDERLY PARENT LESSON NO 38: TOO OLD TO SERVE? – About once a month, Dad and I would make the trip to our church, West End UMC in Nashville, to help out with the stuffing and folding of several thousand copies of the church newsletter for mailing.

Dad always looked forward to it and would start asking about it a week or so ahead of time, wanting to be sure we didn’t miss the date. We enjoyed the fellowship, the happy banter between workers, the lunch afterward, but most of all, it gave Dad a chance to feel useful, to contribute to the life of the church, and perhaps most significant of all, a way to continue to respond to God’s call to ministry, to service, to mission.

It was a real sense of loss for him when the church went to digital transmission of the newsletter, no longer requiring stuffers and folders. At almost 99 years old, with more than 80 years of ministry in his life experience, there aren’t many opportunities to continue to respond to God’s call and claim upon his life.

And so, we rejoiced when the church called this week to ask if we could come in and help with the folding and stuffing of the Sunday morning worship bulletins. Apparently the regular workers were sick or otherwise engaged. We had an early breakfast, got ready to go, fought the traffic coming into town, and joined just two others in the folding and stuffing.

Afterwards, Dad felt good, happy to have given of his time, once again knowing what it is to be in ministry to others.

How old is too old to serve?

At what age does God stop calling us to ministry?

To quote a Bill Gaither song from 1965: “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows, The more that I love Him, more love He bestows; Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows, The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.”

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One Comment
  1. Marlene permalink

    Like the words to that song!


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