Every church planter who has started a church with our NewThing Network so far has been in their 20’s or 30’s…but that that could be changing soon! Jon and I had a great conversation today with Joe and Sue Sutherland who are both in their 70’s and are wanting to plant a NewThing church in the High Vista Community (see photo of club house in High Vista) of Davenport, Florida! Very cool!
Joe and Sue were the first campus pastors at our CCC-Carillon location which is in a gated golf community for active adults 55+. Two years ago they left Carillon to retire for the third time, but God had a bigger plan for them than just retirement! Once they moved to High Vista they discovered there were two interdenominational Bible studies in the community. Soon Joe and Sue were involved and began to “help people find their way back to God”. This emerging group of seniors decided to have their own Easter celebration service last spring where Joe taught and Sue led the music. To everyones surprise more than 200 people showed up!! Well, it seems that God is at work and Joe and Sue are ready to join Him by starting a new church. The first service for Community Christian Church of High Vista is scheduled for October 1st and the expectations are high.
I’m really excited about this new church for a couple reasons:
- There is a growing opportunity for new churches to reach 55+ communities. There are are at least 1,200 active adult communities in the U.S. and with the aging of baby boomers the market is growing even larger. Projections tell us that there will be 75 million adults 55 and over by 2010. We need more churches that will reach this growing senior population.
- There is a great untapped Kingdom resource of people in their retirement years. The typical vision that most people have for their retirement is to find a place in the sun and spend all their time playing cards and golfing. Borrrrrring! (I feel a rant coming on against how we have been led to believe that life is all about becoming independently wealthy so we can do nothing! Ugh!) With the life expectancy pushing 80 and people in better and better health that leaves a lot of years for significant difference-making. This is a great resource of talent and energy that is needed if the church is to accomplish the Jesus mission.
I got nothing against golf. I plan to go on Friday. But I would love to be planting a church while in my 70’s and then golfing just for fun! So, what are you planning on doing while you are in your 70’s? Just golf? No way!!