Here’s one question I hear often when it comes to age and hiring in the church: “Is a church likely to hire a 45-year-old?” I’ve identified 10 questions that are important to consider as a person is hitting the 40-year mark. From the hiring side, as you talk to church leaders and candidates, this is a good “checklist” of items to discuss in conversations relating to “getting older.” If you’re the one being considered as a new hire and are asked about your age, think about how you’d answer each of these questions!
10 questions to consider when an older age is a consideration:
1) What accomplishments have given you momentum in the past? What is your personal brand? What about your reputation identifies your career?
2) What are your top 5 skills in order of strongest to weakest? When you were 20 years old, did the skills you had then translate to what you are doing now? Are the things in which you excelled when you were younger still your strongest skills today? (You will have likely grown and adopted some new skills over time.)
3) Who have you significantly influenced? Who calls you when they are trying to figure things out? Who calls you when they are confused or facing something difficult? This is important because people will respond to you as a direct result of your interest in them personally and professionally.
4) Are you continuing to be a curious learner? This is a big deal! Technology has provided a universe of opportunities to explore. Be curious, be a learner, lead others to new thoughts and new ideas. Ask, connect, ask, research, ask again, and have conversations about new things you’re learning about.
5) How many friends do you have who are in their twenties? Can you name at least three people? This will cost you a considerable amount of time, but the payoff is amazing! You will find this to be one of the most energizing things you do—and if you listen to them, you will identify the conversations in which you need to participate.
6) How’s your health? If you want to win the Indianapolis 500, your car had better be in good shape. Just sayin’!
7) How many NEW friends have you made in the past six months? Anne Lamott once said, “Pastors need to upgrade their friends.” New friends create new conversations. New conversations lead to new thought and new insights.
8) Are you on a spiritual journey to become more like Christ? Of all the conversations you have, how many times do you actually say or hear the name “Jesus”? Spend time walking and praying, meditating, and being with God. Memorize Scripture, sing the psalms—do it! Say “Jesus” more often.
9) Are you known to be at the “front of the spear” of forward thinking, brainstorming, curiosity, and leadership? Are your conversations over the past year or so focused on dwelling on the past, sustaining current situations, or moving into the future? Age can be overlooked if a person is adapting, morphing, learning, and listening. Stay thirsty!
10) Do you expect your current work to look the same a year from now? To some degree, it might, but church leaders are looking for people who develop others and who can think and plan for the future. While it’s important to develop your strengths, the future calls for new methods, new thinking, and new skills.
Wisdom is a virtue that has great value, but it is not just related to the past—it also guides us into the future.
By: Stan Endicott