Fulfilled living in later life
The power of persistence

Tuesday 5th March 2024

The power of persistence

Alex Drew is the new Chief Executive of our partner charity Faith in Later Life. She became a Christian at the age of 31 thanks in part to a lady at her toddlers group who persevered with inviting her to church events/an Alpha course. Here, she reflects on the power of persistent personal invitations, and what that might mean for evangelism to those later in years

Having our invitations ignored or declined can feel like a rejection, and so it’s no wonder that most of us don’t have the heart to keep inviting people when they’ve consistently said ‘no’. It takes faith and no small amount of resilience to extend yet another invitation and believe that a positive response may still come.

I first met Ella at the toddler group I attended with my one-year-old son. She was super friendly and kind, and she would regularly include me in invitations to women’s coffee mornings, Alpha courses, and special church events. Her invitations kept on coming as the seasons changed. Meanwhile two more toddlers were added to my family, and we eventually migrated to the school playground together.

But as lovely as Ella was, her invitations didn’t interest me, and each one ended up in the bin. Until one day, when life had taken its turns, as I stood staring out of the kitchen window, wondering what the point of me was, another invitation landed on the mat. It was from Ella, for an Alpha course she’d be running with her husband.

I read the Alpha strapline ‘Is there more to life than this?’, and although I’d read it several times before over the previous six years, I realised for the first time that it was a great question to which I needed the answer. I called Ella, signed up for the course, and went along each week. On the Alpha course I got to explore what Christianity is and how I can get to know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and on the night of the last session, before leaving the house to go to Alpha, I gave my life to Jesus and became a Christian.

Pilgrims Friend Faith In Later Life Alex Ella
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Since then, I’ve been involved in women’s and evangelism ministry, and extending a few invitations of my own. Ella’s persistence and courage in continuing to invite me not only led to a change in my own life but has been having the knock-on effect of helping others to know Jesus through my ministry for the last 19 years. I’ve seen people of all ages and times of life come to know Jesus – young children, teenagers, women like me, and men and women in much later life.

People of all ages need to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to know Jesus, and personal and persistent invitations can be powerful in this as we join God in His mission to make disciples.

Judi is a good friend of mine, who at 83 years old became the team leader for the Seniors Ministry at Clevedon Baptist Church, as well as a Faith in Later Life Church Champion.

Among other ministries to older people, she leads a team of over 65s in hosting a popular monthly event called Good News which is a magazine-style event providing an interesting afternoon of music, readings, people’s stories, a thought from the Bible, and more, for members of the church and older people in the community who have few or no other links with churches.

Pilgrims Friend Fi LL Judi

Judi says, “Every month I use Canva to design personal invitation cards and print them at the church. These are handed to people at each meeting, asking them to share them with their friends and neighbours. This is important, because we’ve found that those who already attend the events are the best at recruiting others. It’s a great encouragement for me and the team to see regulars bringing friends along for the first time.”

These invitation cards are also posted through letterboxes near to the church, and the image is used to let people know about Good News via social media, and posters in the church windows and the local library. Judi uses her previous experience as a magazine editor to write a short article for a free local magazine that goes to every household monthly. “Recently this has brought in two new visitors who said they’d had a wonderful afternoon and plan to come again.”

This publicity, backed by prayer, means about 50-70 men and women come to Good News each month. Comments made to the team afterwards as guests enjoy a cup of tea and biscuits is a source of encouragement, and they know that this special ministry is helping to deepen people’s understanding of the Bible and Christian living, stimulating their interests, and reducing loneliness for those who attend or are part of the team.

Love My Neighbour

Love My Neighbour is a Faith in Later Life campaign running until the end of March. It’s a simple campaign to remind and encourage us all to connect with our older neighbours this winter. We all crave human relationships; God designed us to be relational, and ‘Love My Neighbour’ is about simple intentional acts of love which build connections. It starts with praying for our older neighbours, finding out their names, then perhaps popping by for a chat and sharing our stories with them, and asking them about theirs.

It’s been good to hear how some people have been more intentional in their neighbourly relationships this winter. For anyone looking for ideas on how to build on those relationships now that winter is (thankfully!) coming to an end, we suggest that a wholesome next step with our older neighbours and friends might be to invite them out for a Spring stroll. This could be a walk out in nature, perhaps round the local garden centre, to your church coffee morning, or just a little wander around the garden together.

Walks and outings are great opportunities for deeper conversations, perhaps about faith, a chance to notice God’s creation together, do something healthy like stretch the legs and breathe fresh air again after a season indoors, and reduce the loneliness that doesn’t disappear when the clocks change.

Trustee Opportunities at Faith in Later Life

Faith in Later Life are looking to expand their range of expertise and experience by welcoming new trustees. They are particularly interested in recruiting someone who is part of their existing Church Champion network, as well as someone who has expertise and experience in fundraising and profile raising across denominations.

For more details and to apply, please see:

More about the work of Faith in Later Life

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