MARIETTA – More and more churches have a growing percentage of seniors in attendance in their worship experiences and engaged in Christian ministry.
Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta has a growing number of seniors. This age demographic is a spiritual treasure for almost any church. This is the group that firmly believes in the Biblical principle of tithing. They know what it is to work and pray fervently. They may not have the strength or stamina of younger generations, but they have wisdom and experience.
The senior adult members of Eastside have a service and fellowship group called the 10:10 Club. The name derives from John 10:10 where Jesus said “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Tim McDaniel, who provides leadership at the church as senior adult coordinator and in the area of recreation, is loved and appreciated by those he serves. Interestingly, his mother, Shirley, is the president of the 10:10 Club and has held that position for at least 25 years.
On Thursday, Oct. 6 the 10:10 Club had their monthly meeting and were asked to recall some remembrances about spiritual experiences from the past. The responses were varied and interesting.
Martha Grissom remembered an experience her husband, Don, had several years ago as he worked on a Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief trip to Kentucky. He was on a chainsaw team cutting limbs after an ice storm.
Martha said, “A television reporter walked up to Don and asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ Without hesitation he replied, ‘Bringing Jesus to Kentucky one limb at a time.'”
Ken Ellison went further back in time to recall something he learned about his ancestry. Ellison was one of Eastside’s first pastors, and then served as a Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) missionary in Indonesia. He returned to Marietta after almost three decades of service on the other side of the earth. He continues to volunteer his loving service to the people of Eastside as a gracious minister of the Lord.
Having spent many of his years teaching young pastors to serve in international settings he recalled a story about missionary statesman Luther Rice. He said, “Luther Rice returned from India to Georgia and began to make his way north to Boston.
“His trail can be traced back to the churches where he preached. There are historical markers along the way to identify the route he took – from Monticello, GA to Roxboro, NC to Greenbrier, VA (now W.VA) where my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was converted under Rice’s preaching. Wherever he preached churches altered their theology and in many cases became far more missionary-minded in spirit.”
That time pledge cards became dangerous
Ralph Grimes recalled the day when churches requested their members to sign pledge cards to insure that the budget would be met. Grimes reminisced, “We had given everyone the opportunity to turn in their pledge cards to the church, but there were still scores of families that had not turned in their pledge cards, so after several weeks a goodly number of us agreed to go to the homes of those who had not returned their cards to request them.
“I had the privilege of going with a delightful character by the name of Roger Greenway,” Grimes explained. “We walked up to one home to ask for their pledge; and the homeowner pulled out a gun on Roger and told him, ‘No.’ Roger walked to the edge of the porch, turned around, and said, ‘I guess that means you are not going to pledge.’”
Cheering in the streets, and in heaven
Juandalee Titshaw recalled with great delight the response of America’s citizens when World War II ended. She said, “People ran out of their houses and made all kinds of noises. There was the firing of guns in the air, shooting firecrackers, shouting, and hugging.” News reports added that church bells were ringing and streets across America resounded with singing and cheering.
Dot Darden recalled something that happened one year during the adult choir’s presentation of the “Living Christmas Tree.” She said, “One of our members gave two tickets to an unbeliever. She was very depressed and about to commit suicide, but she took the tickets and came to the performance.
“Because of the message of the program and the love she experienced she was saved that night and now has a ministry to prostitutes. What a blessing!”
Charles Love had a personal experience he shared. He testified, “We were members of Bibletown in Boca Raton, FL, a large church where Dr. Torrey Johnson was pastor. One evening we went to the church for a concert. It was so crowded we couldn’t get into the auditorium. We had our ten-month-old son with us. Dr. Johnson saw us and got us a seat in the choir loft.
“John Peterson, the man who wrote ‘It Took a Miracle’ was the soloist. He saw us with our son, Chuck. He came back and took Chuck in his arms, went back to the platform, and sang ‘It Took a Miracle.’ That song has always meant much to Dorcas and me. Chuck is now a pastor in Louisville, KY.”
The older you get …
Clayton Byars also had a story to tell. He remembered, “Back in the ‘60s when I was a teenager I recall a day when a preacher came to our area and set up a revival tent just a few miles from our house. We called his kind of meeting a ‘holy roller’ revival. Their emphasis was on an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
“We thought we knew everything and made fun of that tent revival. Over the years as I have matured in my faith it has become evident that that revival preacher was called by God to minister, because he faithfully worked and preached to reach people for Christ for a month.
“I was not saved then, but over the years I have become impressed with his commitment and endurance. The older you get the more you realize that efforts for Christ do not return void.”
The seniors of the Eastside 10:10 Club have not outlived their enthusiasm and are still making precious memories.