Today, Friday 5 November, I am 70 and I can't believe it,
I feel 30. This is what my late father said, who went to glory when 84, he lived his life in his mind as if he was 30.
Many men have said this, they feel in their heart 30 or around that age bracket, certainly not 70 or 75 (whatever) .... their bodies may have felt that age, but subtle minds were still active, alert, alive, championing at the bit ....
Ministry does not stop at 70. It's like a second wind. It's as if one game is over, the next, the big one, is about to start.
The first game
That first game included one's childhood, the years in education, teenage development with friendships, activities, sport, hobbies followed by career initiation, marriage, the greasy pole, a house, children, grand children.
This period of our lives is the main game (as it were), and then you turn 65. There are all sorts of exciting things happen. You get a seniors card. The pharmacy costs are reduced. The bus and train fares are at an all time low. The medical centre is geared to your new situation. It's all very enthralling as a participant ‘spectator’!
One might even dare to look back a little, and take a good long look at what has been achieved in all those years associated with the 'main game'. Wealth takes a bit of a back seat with this one – what sort of human beings are the children? What sort of a parent was I? What sort of life was it for my spouse? Did I share enough of myself or my time?
As a Christian man, what was my witness to my Saviour Jesus Christ in all these years. What about as a Christian minister, where was the focus, did any mark I leave - point to Jesus?
A fresh beginning at home
70 initiates a new fresh start. There is 'the older man' and 'grey wisdom' possibly as a neighbourhood 'grand-dad'. A friendly wave, a word of encouragement here and there, an old wrinkly smile that carries with it a sense of security and sage 'wise' words.
More, your family - the sounding board to the now adult children and even to the grand children. Being there for them. Listening. Offering a comment. The mandatory dad joke. Giving a grand-dad hug. Dipping into the back pocket to help. This is the new role. It's fun and lovely. Yes, and they will go their own home to eat - eventually!
Ministry does not stop at 70, it's like a spring board to many exciting advantages – like when you speak to someone now they might listen as you're old and considered. You don't have to stand to sing the same lines 25 times.
Much of wisdom the bible says - comes with age - you have experienced a life time of seeing things ‘go-down’ and can now recognise the signs. Someone now might take notice. The old guy might know something.
Ministry leadership when you get older brings with it the wisdom to see those who have something very special to offer into the future, and to know which people are great supporters and encouragers – we need both.
There is also a case sometimes to see that it's time to hand over. I did this with the CoolyRocksOn 'Chuch Service' on the June long weekend each year. CoolyRocksOn is the nation’s largest Rock'n'Roll nostalgia weekend along with vintage cars. Before Covid 150,000 visitors to Coolangatta for an entire week. It's massive.
The CoolyRocksOn Church Service was held in the big marque on the Sunday morning and packed. People come from all over Australia to CoolyRocksOn. The only advertising is two lines in the official booklet. People came in their droves.
Our local Baptist church at Tugun saw an older congregation some years ago hand their entire church to the young people of a nearby Baptist congregation (who met in a hall) - now they have in turn planted a church in Coolangatta.
Passing on is a part of Christian ministry. Another generation.
Yes, I am 70 today
- and my continuing ministry looks bright, and brighter, and oh yes,
- and before I forget, did I tell you my ministry future looks bright and brighter .....
- there was something else I meant to tell you - what was it ?
- I can still be funny at 70 …. My dad joke all year - the young writers droooool for my weekly dad joke for which I am now even more amply qualified.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 6 grand children