At 37, I am probably the least qualified speaker to ever present at a Prime Time Conference.  Even if I had double the ministry experience, sermons, connections, successes and failures, I would still be one year short of being qualified even to register. And yet, it was probably the most strategic and empowering speaking engagement I have ever undertaken. As I stood surrounded by an army of mentors, encouragers, prayer warriors, ministry leaders and even “refired”[1] pastors, I realized that there was no group better equipped to carry Formission back to their churches and towns.

Statistically though, I am only one year away from Half Two of my life[2], and I believe now more than ever that my best ministry years are before me, not behind me. It was incredible how refreshing and relevant the content of “More” Conference was for someone my age. For one, they sure know how to worship – there was a beautiful diversity of classic and contemporary hymns and choruses, and the congregation didn’t seem to discriminate. More importantly, I was reminded (thanks Pastor Primmer) that now is the time for me to begin thinking about what kind of person I want to be and what kind of legacy I want to leave when I hit my 50’s and beyond.

Prime Time Director Catherine Snow gave me a book as a parting gift from the conference entitled “Half Two – The Quest for a God-Honoring ENCORE.” Penned by the founder of YES! (Young Enough to Serve) Ministries, the book offers both encouragement and challenge for believers and churches in all stages of ministry.

To the young:

“Paul the older instructs Titus the younger to teach the older so that they in turn will influence the younger” (Wick 81).

“We all lose when generations drift apart, and we all win when the body comes together in unity” (Wick 74).

“Continue to cross-pollinate between generational groups, purposefully look for ways to serve one another, and take incremental steps to build relationships” (Wick 69).

“How sad…that so many of these quality faith stalwarts had little or no interaction with younger people in their churches. What a tragic waste of experience, wisdom, time, and other resources” (Wick 27). 

To the church:

“We need to change the ecosystem around them so that disciple making becomes more necessary and natural, while offering practical tools and live examples of faith-sharing” (Wick 208).

“Leaders figure these adults have walked with the Lord for decades and are okay on autopilot” (Wick 88).

“The gospel is not suffering in America because of a shortage of building space or amenities such as ‘coffee coves’. Plain and simple, we have a shortage of disciple-makers” (Wick 139).

“Our grasp of kingdom breadth can weaken when we become too generational, too denominational, too national, or too culturally ingrained” (Wick 126).

To the Encore Generation

“We all get 24 hours a day, but some of us have fewer days left. Let’s make the most of them” (Wick 120).

“Half Two is not an old dusty road to avoid or postpone; it’s a new avenue that deserves thoughtful reflection and preparation of the heart” (Wick 58). 

“Let’s offer our skills to our children and their youth leader(s), and together with their parents and grandparents, let’s find ways to engage young apprentices” (Wick 50).

“We invite you to a new level of deliberateness as you step into the marketplace. You may not have official pastor credentials, but you have God-given authority to be a minister wherever you go” (Wick 197).

I have been blessed with dozens of mentors and examples over the years who have demonstrated for me what passionate discipleship looks like after 50. If you are 50+ and find yourself thinking, “there must be something more for me,” my encouragement to you is to pursue that line of thought to action. Both for your generation and the next, we need our 50+ mature saints to increasingly see themselves as indispensable for the body’s proper functioning (1 Corinthians 12). The Prime Time Team at PAONL is standing behind you, cheering you on, and would love to hear from you about your dreams and ideas for Prime Time Discipleship Ministry in your church and in our province. Thank you for being my prayer team, my encouragers, and champions for Formission.

[1] Retired but not by any means “finished with ministry”

[2] Average age of death for a male in NL is 76.5.  https://www.disabled-world.com/calculators-charts/ca-lifespan.php

About Jeremy Nippard

Jeremy Nippard is the Director of Formission with the PAONL. He has been in full time ministry for 11 years and lives in Paradise, NL with his wife Cheryl and kids Christyn (9) and Carter (7). He is passionate about discipleship and loves to see leaders and churches becoming healthy and missionally engaged.