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Don’t You Dare Retire

Don’t You Dare Retire

Steven Musso
  • We’ve adopted our secular culture’s view of musical artists that your younger years are your prime years to be “popular” and on a platform.
Church Mentorship

I’ve heard it said that years 0-30 in life are for gathering and learning, 30-60 are for using and producing, and years 60 and beyond are for re-depositing into the next generation. While I believe that these things can happen in any season, I do believe that there is validity to the overall role of these three general seasons of our lives.

I also see a biblical basis for this…according to Jewish culture, the age of 30 is when someone reaches their full point of maturity, and this is seen throughout scripture. Joseph began serving Pharaoh at the age of 30 (Genesis 41:46). David became king over all of Israel at the age of 30 (2 Samuel 5:4). The Levitical priests began their service at age 30 (Number 4:3). And most importantly of all, Jesus lived in obscurity and did not begin His public ministry until He was 30.

1 Timothy warns against raising up a novice, lest they become puffed up with pride. On the flip side of things, Job 12:12 tells us that,

“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”

In the church, I think on the pastoral end of things these generational seasons are more or less seen. Those who are called to pastoral ministry in their early season might go to college, do an internship, or take a less visible pastoral role in the church, while in their middle years will either plant a church or take a lead pastor position, and in their latter years may end up in a leadership role in their denomination or teaching at a university, raising up the next generation of pastors. Again, I know this is VERY generalized and it doesn’t look like this for everyone, but hear my heart.

When it comes to worship ministry, however, this is a HOT MESS and I just need to talk about it.

Worship Leaders Are Not Musical Artists

American church culture has equated “worship leaders” with “musical artists.” And we’ve adopted our secular culture’s view of musical artists that your younger years are your prime years to be “popular” and on a platform. As a result, the entire curve of generational seasons ends up getting shifted down a generation. We look to the younger generation and say “you should be the ones leading” when they have not fully learned, developed, matured, been humbled, etc. We then turn to the middle aged generation and say “you should be re-depositing,” when they have skill, but are still gaining lifelong wisdom and perspective, and finally we turn to the older generation and say,

“You shouldn’t be doing anything at all.”

As we’ve embraced the spirit of this world that idolizes youth, we’ve knocked everyone out of their God-given seasons (which I believe is a part of why there’s a general anxiety throughout younger generations over the expected pace of what should be happening in their lives and ministries). And in doing so, we’ve sought to completely retire the older generation, throwing away wisdom and silencing ONE THIRD of the worship community. Y’all know who took out one third of the angelic hosts in heaven…I can’t help but think He’s trying to do the same with the church…

Hiddenness, Submission, Education

What am I saying?

If you are called to worship ministry and you are younger, you don’t need a bigger platform. You need hiddenness. You need submission. You need to learn everything you can… in a classroom and in real life situations that knock your teeth in and cause you to experience God first hand being all the magnificent things we sing about Him as He comes to your rescue. I’m not saying don’t lead worship – I’ve been leading worship since I was 15 and to this day I love handing a teenager a mic for the first time and slowly introducing them to the world of worship ministry. But I am saying that this season is for learning and there’s a blessing and safety in small platforms and hidden seasons. Let God exalt you when He knows you’re ready.

If you are in your middle years, you need to lead. You need to build. You need to capitalize on everything God developed in you in your younger years. Don’t put that mic down because you got married, started a family, and got busy. The church NEEDS your maturity, your anointing, and your AUTHORITY. You’ve walked through some things. You KNOW some things. Your oil is different. It’s time to work and build.

If you are in your latter years, don’t you dare retire. Yes, there may come a time that life demands you sit down and rest instead of serve on a platform, but there is no retirement from kingdom work on this side of heaven. Those in the midst of the battle need your wisdom, your prayer, your encouragement, and even your correction (but make sure you give them the first 3 things first!!).

Leading worship isn’t merely designated for young, trendy artists as our culture would tell us – It is a high and holy calling that, whether young or old, is lived out over decades and seasons and grows in tandem to our relationship with God. I love the picture Psalm 145 paints us in verse 5,

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

Let’s stop mirroring the world’s values and start embracing God’s generational design in worship ministry the same way we do in other areas of ministry.

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