Thursday, November 02, 2006

People Everywhere

When my children were young, each week for a year, my mom and dad sent them a Bible lesson. The Bible based lessons taught such things as treating neighbors with respect. With the steadily rising world population, families will have more opportunities to guide the next generation to love their neighbors.

The United States populace reached 300 million about mid-year. Statisticians aren’t sure of the exact moment. Finding baby number 300 million would be as difficult as looking for a unique grain of sand. Somewhere, little child, you’re it. But, you’ll probably never know you were the milestone-kid.

In 1915, this country reached 100 million. In 1967, we doubled our family tree. Branches sprouted from Boston to Bakersville. The sheer numbers along with advancements in health care have changed the demographics of this nation.

What do all of the statistics have to do with the local church? A lot. Many churches are experiencing phenomenal growth among their young families. Someone is having all those babies. My congregation’s nursery program doubled in size in the last few years, creating more teachable moments for parents and Sunday school teachers to instill passion for God.

For a person born in 1915, the expected life span was 54.5. However, if you were born in 1967, your life expectancy could reach 70.5. Babies arriving in 2006 are very likely to reach the age of 77.8. What does the aging population have to do with church? Plenty.

Over 12 percent of the American population is over the age of 65, around 37 million senior citizens. Because of longevity, churches have broader experienced-based knowledge than ever before. Paul knew the aged are capable of passing along valuable insights. He wrote to young preacher Titus saying, “teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live. In turn, the mature women were to teach “the younger women to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:3-5).

This can happen between a mother and daughter or other familial connections, or it can occur in church classrooms. A couple of young women meet around my kitchen table once a week, and we study, pray, and talk about all our struggles and successes. Paul knew the best way to “catch” life-lessons is from someone who has counted a few birthdays. Been there. Done that.

Men are not exempt from Paul’s guidelines for mentors. He wanted older gentlemen to be “temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” To the young men he urged self-control and that the young Titus would set a good example for them (2:2, 6-7).

The World Population Clock at the United States Census Bureau Website says 6 and a half billion people inhabit Earth. By 2050 that number will rise to 9 billion—more relatives, more neighbors, more mentors, more young ones to teach. Are you ready to “love your neighbor as yourself”? (Matthew 19:19).

Barbara Barr had a Habitat for Humanity project going on next door and she said: “Oh happy day, that is what comes to my mind when I think of Habitat for Humanity. I have envisioned the day when others would care about our neighborhood as much as we do. As I am listening to your hammers and saws and your laughter, I am filled with hope."

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1 comment:

  1. Cathy - Thanks for your prayers. I am grateful for you.