Pastor Roland Maust is a 71-year-old minister with decades of experience in church and radio ministry. We shared his inspiring story, and you can read about his adventures, both past and upcoming. But he is a good example of someone who knows that ‘going back’ for seminary education is never going backward.
According to Maust, many people need to be retooled and redeployed, rather than retired and replaced. We asked him to share more about how he came to believe and live out this message of longevity in ministry. Here, in his own words, is his answer.
A guest blog by Pastor Roland Maust
Perhaps because I’m an only child raised by older parents (my mother was 40 when she had me), I’ve always been profoundly aware of the approach of old age. After all, the senior years are coming steadily onward for each of us (despite how many chose to ignore or strive to hide it).
I don’t find sitting in the rocking chair mentioned anywhere in the Bible. But I do see repurposing and rethinking ministry. I imagine Paul was shocked and dismayed at first when his freedom to preach and plant churches came to a screeching halt behind prison bars! But what a tremendous treasure trove of Scripture we now possess because God chose to repurpose, retool, and redeploy His aging apostle.
I take Psalm 92:12-14 as my biblical pattern:
“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”
The words “vital and green” speak four things to me:
If you’re picking out flowers for your sweetie, brown and withered is not what you are looking for. Greenness is a sign of being freshly picked from the field. As well-seasoned believers, senior saints should have the depth of interaction with God and His Word that makes us dynamically fresh in a stale and jaded world. A seminary education is just one way of achieving this freshness.
Just because you’re getting bald or gray or white (like me) doesn’t mean that you stop being fruitful. Howard Hendricks wisely observed that every person should have a Timothy, a Barnabas, and a Paul in their lives. We all need a peer like Barnabas to whom you can relate (and who can give you a good swift kick in the pants when you need one). Each of us needs an older mentor and spiritual guide like Bob Combs has been to me. And everyone needs to be pouring themselves into a younger person, helping them grow and mature. Never stop being fruitful.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Praise God we’re not dogs! We all like doing things in the old, familiar way, with our coffee just so, and sitting in our comfy easy chair. Get over it! God has poured a lifetime of experience into your head and heart, and He expects you to harness that and put it to use. I love the God we find in Habbakuk 1:5: “The Lord replied, ‘Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.’” We serve a God of new techniques, new ways, new ideas, and new opportunities. People who are green and vital are like that, no matter what their age.
(And finally, this next one is just because God wired me the way He did.)
A dad had been teaching his toddler John 3:16, word by slow word, during breakfast over the last few weeks. They’d finally reached the very last word, and Dad prompted junior, “Should not perish but have everlasting…”
The youngster scrunched up his face in thought, then brightened as he blurted out, “Fun! Everlasting fun!”
Sure, salvation is serious business, and reaching the lost is our great commission, but when did we stop having everlasting fun? Green vital people of all ages are fun to be around. I should know; my uncle, Pastor J. Ward Tressler of the Fremont Ohio Grace Church, had a hearty laugh that could shake the rafters until his dying day at age 94.
For the sake of our calling to be salt and light in a tasteless, dark world, be green and vital, grow strong and flourish in old age! Don’t stop living and laughing until they finally fit you for a coffin. Ask God to show you how he wants to refit, retool, and redeploy you, whether it be during your seminary education, in Alaska, or from a hospital bed. For heaven’s sake, be green and vital for God!
Are you inspired to continue, or even start, a new ministry path? We know the inspiration to minister to God’s people will be immediately matched with the felt need to be equipped to do so. A Grace Theological Seminary education has several pathways for you to choose from, matching your unique journey.
Whatever your path, you can find an affordable seminary education to ready you to go farther, and longer, than you ever imagined. Continue your educational path and receive your M. Div., or even skip a bachelor’s degree and go straight for an online Master of Arts in Ministry Studies. Learn more about our various programs and discover your path forward today.
Would you like to learn more about their ministry? Roland and Karen are two years into their journey to get to Alaska and are still looking for mission-minded folks who will partner with them. Unfortunately, life in Alaska is quite expensive, and they still need some $40,000 in active support before they can relocate there and begin their ministry at KCAM. Would you prayerfully consider becoming an active part of their ministry? Please contact their sending agency at Joy Media Ministries, P. O. Box 249, Glennallen, AK 99588 to learn how to be actively involved in reaching isolated Alaskans with the Gospel. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone call at 907.822.5226.