My friend A. was an old hippie who looked a little like Jerry Garcia (the old guy version) with grease under his fingernails. He worked at a body shop by day, and gave his nights and weekends to what he believed was his true calling: a musician who used his gifts as part of his church’s worship team. He spent more than three decades as a rock `n roll version of David during his harp-playing days. He worked hard to stay current when it came to trends in worship music. His skills were stellar, and his childlike, humble joy in what he had to offer to God and others made him a great asset to any team to which he was assigned.
Not very long ago, the leadership team at the church took him aside and asked him to step down from his role because they wanted to have a younger-looking worship team on the platform. They used plenty of spiritual-sounding platitudes (“equipping the next generation”, “reaching families in our community”, “using your gifts in other ways in our body, like being a greeter”), but when he boiled away all the churchy language and looked at the New, Improved version of the worship team, who all happened to be in their early- to mid-thirties, he realized they were telling him he was too old to be in front of the congregation.
I know this is how the business world does it. But since when do those rules apply to the church?