09/14/2011 // Arlington, TX, USA // Joyprof // Duane Keilstrup
The twenty-first century Christian church faces a plethora of problems, not the least of which is dwindling membership and often a fading effective ministry to senior adults. Worship style frequently is a deciding factor. Many seniors do not respond to the music worship style of loud guitars, drums, and repetitive lyrics. The younger generation rejects traditional music in the style of time-honored hymns and southern classic gospel. Some churches find an answer to the music dilemma by providing an alternative service with more traditional styles of music for seniors, or they seek to integrate worship songs and style with the words of traditional hymns. However, many seniors are simply choosing to stay at home, and worship privately.
An equally pressing matter but a more deeply serious one has to do with seniors in our society who could be part of the overall answer to church problems. Church boards are choosing younger pastors, and activities are designed with the younger families in mind. Still, it is possible to find a balance. In a new book Professor Duane Keilstrup gives practical suggestions and resources for revitalizing church ministries in the twenty-first century through the energy and vast experience of dramatically increasing numbers of available folks from “Generation X,” “The Greatest Generation,” and “Baby Boomers”, a group who can be more than just the target of senior adult ministries. Six thousand seniors reaching age 65 each day bring a huge challenge and opportunity for ministry to them and by them. Calling on his experiences and research, Dr. Keilstrup offers practical thoughts on word-made-flesh leadership as well. Source material on leadership and innovative senior adult ministry is ample and often includes personal commentary.
The book’s title is The Christian Professor in the Secular University: Singing and Soaring on Paths of Joy, Xulon Press. The author, Dr. Duane Keilstrup, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Arlington, and for many years an editor of an international educational journal, shares practical ideas and resources for revitalizing today’s churches and university classrooms.
The scope of the book reaches beyond the church and the campus and can touch the hearts of most readers. In addition to his research and advice to churches and Christian teachers in secular university, the author creates poetic images of life growing up in a small town, tells a tale of heroic family heritage, and vividly describes unique characters he’s played in classes during his forty some years in teaching. Young at heart retirees as well as younger “retirees in training” will enjoy reading about the joy of journeying back in time to timeless radio comedy of the 1940’s and to upbeat songs of the big bands, classic songs of hope and encouragement like “Accentuate the Positive.” He reveals his love of laughter and word play in funny anecdotes as well as his personal story about a country kid from Nebraska and blessed on paths of joy amid Texas bluebonnets, in Africa amid black mamba snakes, and finally today in “codgerhood.”
And Professor Keilstrup includes some surprising discoveries as well. For example, his research in ancient thirteenth century folios unexpectedly led him to document the existence of Christian Vikings.
Campus Crusade executive Mike Duggins comments that “Duane’s stories and remembrances within these pages will be personally encouraging as well as stimulating to your faith and ministry.” Dr. J. Ronald Blue, Central American Missions President and Dallas Theological Seminary Professor, says, “This book stirs the “young at heart quality” of my soul and, above all, it has brought a new appreciation for joy. I sing and soar with you!” Banyon Publishing reviewer Carol Desilet writes (printed with permission): “I believe the book will be inspirational to anyone due to the author’s enthusiasm that there is always hope in each new day. Honestly, this is a feel good book and it is certainly an enjoyable read and makes one feel happy to be alive and to remain optimistic in the darkest & brightest of days. The humor in the book is evident in every page, and any book that can make me smile and laugh out loud about things in both the past and present is a winner.”
The book is available online from amazon.com and from Xulon Press at 866-909-2665. Book excerpts and samples of his radio show can be found on Dr. Keilstrup’s website at OTRClassicsAndCurios.com.
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