Are older pastors wiser?

Chris —  October 7, 2010

Not necessarily.

Earlier this week, I observed that wisdom should grow with age.  One of the comments balances that post in a wonderful way.  The below comment is from Pastor Jess Miller and is worth reading.

This is an interesting post Chris. I have had the privilege in my Christian experience to sit under the ministries of two age groups of pastors. The first was a man in his 70′s. He played the wisdom card a lot, but as time went by it became apparent that he made many foolish mistakes that revealed a lack of godly wisdom that eventually led to the demise of his church.

The other two pastors I have had were both under the age of 40. As a matter of fact, one was under the age of 30! I was actually older than him! Each of these pastors have displayed wisdom in their ministries that far exceeded that of the older pastor. The older pastor’s church is down to about 20 people, where God has clearly blessed the ministries of the other two.

That really got me thinking about the concept of wisdom and how it is acquired. I do agree that godly wisdom should come with age, but as you stated in your post, that is just a general principle that does not alway correspond with reality. True wisdom comes from God, and He often has gifted younger men with wisdom beyond their years because they humbled themselves and sought Him for it.

I think that it is also important to distinguish between different kinds of wisdom. For instance, I may go to an older man in my congregation to seek wisdom on buying a house because I know he has wisdom in that area. However, I may not seek that man’s wisdom for leadership decisions in the church because, although he is older, he may lack wisdom in that area.

With that said, I agree that young pastors need to be continually seeking God for wisdom and confessing that they are unwise so that He can grant it to them. They would also be wise to find older pastors to whom they can turn for help and advice. I heard a man say once, “I’m an idiot, who by the grace of God knows he’s an idiot, and that makes me wise.”

Thanks for your post!

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3 responses to Are older pastors wiser?

  1. Interesting post which gives me some since I am a pastor under 40. I especially appreciate and agree with the idiot statement at the end – may that be me more and more. Having said that, I would disagree with the apparent conclusion that a pastor’s wisdom is somehow indicative of the number of people in the church. Large numbers may indicate some business-type wisdom, but not necessarily godly wisdom.


  2. Brian, I agree regarding the size of church, and not just because I am in a church of modest size!

  3. I agree that sometimes being old does not mean more wisdom. But most of the times it does. I’m 32 years old and I would never be under a Pastor under 45 years old. I rather take my chances of being under guidance an older Pastor then some young Pastor. Most young Pastors try to be hip to attract the youth instead of just depending on the word of God. Plus most under 40 still have lots to learn.