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Don’t do dumb stuff while you’re young that you’ll regret when you’re old. That’s at the heart of In Praise Of Old Guys. Nicolas Alford and Nicholas Kennicott drive home this message with transparent, hard-hitting, and biblical wisdom page after page.
In a day in which the perils of youth are lauded as virtues, we are reminded that “a believer with gray hair has a banner signaling you to ask them for advice, counsel, and encouragement” (p. 13). Instead of calling for more contemporary worship services or more innovative ideas, Alford and Kennicott call young and aspiring pastors to “care more about growth in holiness and communion with the Lord in the quiet and unseen times of the day than we do about cultivating and maintaining a public platform and popular persona.” (p. 39)
On many of the pages, I was convicted by the folly of my own youthfulness in life and ministry. I’ve cared more about getting seminary and ministry credentials than sitting under the mentorship of a godly older man. To put it bluntly, I’ve often been shaped by the notion that true education is found in a classroom, not in the trenches of real ministry.
In Praise Of Old Guys is both practical and deeply rooted in scripture. At some moments, the tone is light and hilarious which is sure to get a few laughs along the way. At other moments, you get hit hard by the rawness of the reality of pride: “Beware of a self-exalting man, especially if he is doing it with a smirk. He’s not edgy; he’s an idiot.” (p. 24). This makes for an enjoyable read on a topic that could certainly be depressing and discouraging if handled wrongly.
As a book nerd, I loved the sections which highlighted great writers and books from the past. It’s important to read scripture, which made very clear in this book. It is also important to read good books from old dead guys. They’ve lived their lives, preached their sermons, and written their books. We don’t have to fear that they’ll tarnish their faithful ministry with sin because their story has already been written.
Ultimately, if you’re a young man, pursue an old guy with gray hair to do life with. There is so much wisdom to be found in their lives, and you’re commanded in scripture to do so. If you’re an old guy (I’m getting closer to that description with every ache, pain, and grey hair), find a young guy to mentor and disciple. It’s worth it for both of you.
I highly recommend this book. I look forward to more by Alford and Kennicott!