‘Aren’t you old to be still serving?’ That’s what it sounds, at times, when people see that I’m still in the worship team, or choir, as some churches prefer to put it. It amazes me, but more importantly, it makes me wonder; when can, or does, one retire from serving in the music ministry? Why is it that this is the one ministry people choose to do that?
Serving in the music ministry does take a lot of time, I agree, from practice to the church services. And who has this time to serve? And why give all this time while you could be doing other things like spending time with family and friends, shopping, visiting places, going for weddings, et cetera?
For it becomes harder to serve once the spouse and children check in. The demand for time is certainly divided. Many are usually unable to continue serving effectively, especially with babies involved. It does become challenging and, even more so, harder to get back to singing, especially after taking a break.
It does make sense, from an observation I made, as to why many people serve diligently and with all their might when they aren’t married. There is a lot of expectation for commitment and discipline as they serve. And there’s a better chance of more allotted time.
Age is also a challenge. It’s even like a silent rule. Unlike in mainstream churches, the average age of people serving in worship teams in evangelical churches is mainly those in their twenties and mid-thirties. Even the gap between the young and old hinders some from serving. One may feel that the old just don’t get the hype songs that need to be sang, with the vice-versa being that the young have no idea what they are doing, singing in the flesh and not in the Spirit.
There could be other determining factors that could possibly deter one from serving. Work demands or relocation to places where it makes it difficult to continue doing what one enjoyed doing earlier. Or even interpersonal differences and management caused by the fact that we are human beings, with friction, in my view, being inevitable.
However, is determent retirement? Is there a time that comes when you become too old and retire from leading worship? Should age, availability, demands affect how we serve God and serve Him effectively?
Rob Still in his article When are you too old to lead worship? says;
‘It’s time to change when …
- You’re no longer effective in the role.
- People aren’t connecting with your leadership.
- You don’t love it anymore, but you’re hanging on to the gig for the wrong reasons.
- There are others ready to lead and they are not being given the opportunity.
- The Holy Spirit, or your intuition, says your season is up.’
Nothing lasts forever, he adds. And his advice to older worship leaders? ‘Serve. Give yourself away. Raise up the next generation leaders. Include them. Give them opportunity to excel. Pass the baton.’ Now that is very profound advice.
I now realize why this matter is disturbing me. I am assessing how much more time I need to give to this ministry. I do acknowledge the call of God in this regard. I also do know that I would like to use this gift and talent He has given me to build His kingdom. And I acknowledge that I do not want to block other generations from serving Him because I refuse to move. Much more, I pray that He can show me how to serve Him effectively and also grow younger ministers in their ministry.
So, will I still serve Him in this ministry, even when I am playing different roles? A wife, mother, working lady, daughter, sister, friend, mentor and serving in my community? Yes. Because I am one blessed woman who has a gift from God that I want to use to draw people to Him, ministering to the very souls that long for Him, those that have a void and wonder what will fill that void.
And does this have a timeframe? I do not think so. For the Bible does say that the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few!
Where some of my fellow worship leaders are on this journey, I knoweth not. Probably you are swamped with all manner of demands. But in whatever you do, may God give you the grace to find time to use your gifts wisely. It may not be possible to lead every Sunday. Try one Sunday in a month. If not possible, find other ways to grow the future leaders. Do not take such a long break, for it makes it hard to come back.
As for me, one thing remains clear. It does not matter where God allows me to sing, to lead. I will do my part for Him, and in His will, till He takes me home! He will do the rest. And I am glad I’ve reflected on this matter.
So, ‘Am I too old to be still serving?’ No, I am not. I am now in my Flourishing Forties, remember? It’s time for effectiveness, time for impact.