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"Snowboarding at Midlife"
by Tom Goodman
January 5, 2006

We kick off the New Year with an important meeting for Sunday School leaders this Sunday evening, January 8, 7:00 p.m., in A-161.  This meeting is for leadership in all areas: preschool, children, youth, and adults.  I will lead this meeting as we start making plans to go to two services on Easter Sunday, April 16.  If you’re a Bible Study leader, you’re really needed at this meeting.

I know something about the joys and challenges of making a major change.  I just experienced one last week!  After 30 years of skiing, I decided to learn to snowboard on our family trip to Crested Butte, Colorado.

As most of you know, snowboarders lock their feet onto one wide board and ride it like a skateboard down the mountain.  Needless to say, this is a very different skill than skiing.  I was warned to expect nothing but frustration and bruises the first two days before enjoying a breakthrough on the third day.  They were right.

The first two days of boarding, I tumbled forward, backward, and sideward—sometimes all at the same time!  Each night, I hobbled my 44-year-old body into the condo, stiffly pulled off my ski jacket wet with melted snow, and mumbled to Diane, “Advil; where’s the Advil?”  In fact, after my second day, I actually turned in my rented snowboard and picked up my familiar skis, deciding you can’t teach an old dog new tricks after all.

But as I got ready to head out the door on the third day, I heard someone on a TV program say that ninety percent of those who try snowboarding give up.  That was like a dare to me, and I went right down to the rental shop and traded my skis back in for the dreaded snowboard.  By lunch I was making my turns “right foot” and “goofy foot,” and making it off the ski lift and down the mountain without a single “face plant.”  I am now a shredder (yes, we snowboarders have our own terms).

Oh, I’m still not at the level of my sons.  Michael and Stephen point the nose of their boards downhill with only two options in mind: “Fast” and “Very Fast.”  Still, it’s great to report a new skill that few over the age of 35 possess.  There’s a grace and maneuverability in boarding that I never experienced in skiing—not to mention that snowboard boots are a lot more comfortable than ski boots!

Like my over-40 body, over-40 churches sometimes face some aches and pains while experiencing change.  In fact, the over-40 church is so unique that there’s a website (www.churchover40.com) dedicated to encouraging over-40 churches.  As we leaders move toward two worship services on April 16, be in prayer for our church body.  I believe God wants to do some amazing things with us!


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