How a Lesson From “The Old Coots” Could Change Your Church’s Coffee Hour

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A colleague recently shared a video that left me smiling for hours. Called Old Coots Giving Advice, it features a group of senior citizen friends who meet regularly for coffee to talk and to, as they put it, “solve the problems of the world.” They have great fun and enjoy each other’s company. 

But things get really interesting when they decide to open a booth at the local farmer’s market and give free advice to anyone who asks. They didn’t think anyone would stop by. Then the line in front of their booth began growing. 

The questions The Old Coots receive ranged from philosophical (“What’s the secret to happiness?”) to practical (“How do I get rid of dead patches in my lawn?”) to serious (“Should I stay with a husband who is cheating on me?”). The Old Coots’ answers range from silly to sarcastic to thoughtful. 

The thing that has me fascinated, though, is how The Old Coots created a space where people of all generations could connect—even for just a few short minutes. (If I were them I would have chosen a different name for the group, but still. . .)

What would it look like if the folks age 60 and over in your congregation—those in the “third third” of life—set up a table in your church’s coffee hour space and invited folks of any age who have questions about life and faith to come and chat? For example, as parents sending their youngest off to college this fall, my husband and I have lots of questions about what life will look like from here on out. We’d love some encouragement from people who have been there and made the most of a new stage of life.

If this idea piques your interest and has you wondering about ways people in the “third third” of their lives might bless your congregation and community—and how your church might bless them—watch for a free online toolkit on the “third third” coming in 2020 from Disability Concerns and Faith Formation Ministries. It’ll contain dozens of helpful resources and ideas your church can use.

Also check out four one-page resources from Faith Formation Ministries and Disability Concerns that are great conversation-starters:

There may be many folks in your church who are just waiting for someone to ask them to share their years of accumulated wisdom. How might you make space for that amazing gift?

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