The Groanings and Blessings of Age in Ministry

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Well, I know I’m certainly getting older! And I’ve discovered at least two aspects to aging—groanings, but also blessings.

There are times I find myself calling a medical doctor: my good friend and colleague, AiG speaker and author Dr. Tommy Mitchell. I will ask him (he’s an internist) why I’m having a medical problem, like a recent sinus issue I’ve never had before. His standard answer—as a seasoned medical professional—is, “Well, you’ve never been this old before!”

OK, maybe his bedside manner was not what I was expecting, but he’s right.

Well, you’ve never been this old before!

Yep, I’m experiencing an increasing number of “groaning” issues. My back groans, particularly after sitting a long time in an airline seat that I believe was designed by the same people who invented the torture rack in the Middle Ages!

My eyes groan as I have to purchase slightly stronger glasses every two years. My knees sometimes groan when walking down steep steps. My shoulder groans if I lie the wrong way!

As a young person, I couldn’t understand why, when older people got together, the topic of conversation was usually about the various medical conditions they had. Now, as I have had seemingly millions of birthdays, I finally get it!

But I do have ways to help me feel young. I tell people, for example, that I recently turned 59 + 7! So I can say I’m still in my fifties. (Well, sort of.) And to help me feel even younger, I tell people my wife turned 70-6 in December. (Now, I don’t advise that all men try this; Mally understands my weird sense of humor, I think—I hope.)

One of my friends observed, “Ken, just think—you’re getting closer to heaven!” I realized this was just a nice way of saying, “Ken, you’ve more years behind you than you do in front of you on this earth, pal.”

But now, let me tell you one of the great blessings of getting older. The Lord placed a very clear calling on my life in the 1970s to be involved in the biblical-creation apologetics teaching ministry starting in my homeland of Australia! Over the past 40 years, I’ve spoken in all 50 US states and over 20 countries.

Testimonies of Changed Lives

During the last couple of years, I’ve been experiencing a phenomenon that’s been steadily increasing. It goes like this:

After speaking at the Creation Museum, a church service, or Bible conference, I host a meet-and-greet with members of the audience. Couples with young children will often approach me, and then one of the parents will say something like, “Mr. Ham, I remember hearing you speak when I was six years old. I still recall what you taught us, like asking the question ‘Were you there?’ when someone mentions the supposed millions of years. What you taught had such an impact on me that we’re now bringing up our children using AiG resources. And it’s having a profound impact on them and their commitment to the Lord and his Word.”

When I first started hearing testimonies like this, frankly, I groaned, thinking, “I must be getting old.” But as I heard more and more such testimonies, I realized the Lord was allowing me the special blessing of seeing a generational impact of the ministry that has consumed our lives for so many years.

In recent times, I’ve spoken at places where I first gave presentations 20–30 years ago. And what a blessing to have so many people come up to me and share the impact those presentations had on them years ago (and perhaps on their friends and family members). As a result, they’ve been using AiG materials to reach others with the message of biblical authority and the gospel. I’ve had many people tell me that hearing those messages years ago set them on fire for the Lord—and that fire has never gone out!

I have also received many testimonies recently from people who have told me they became Christians after hearing me speak many years ago. They further share that others have told them they were saved because they found the AiG website, read an AiG book, or watched one of our DVDs.

A few months ago when I spoke in Louisiana, a man told me that he watched the old VHS tapes of me that were filmed in Australia in 1986 and that they had such an impact on his life. He couldn’t thank me enough for what this apologetics teaching has done for him, his family, and those he is able to reach.

Now when people give me such testimonies, I’ve started asking if I could record them on my smart phone. I then use some of these videos on social media and often show them to our staff, so that others can also hear the exciting ways the Lord has used this ministry over the decades.

I’ve also had some funny things happen after I speak. At one church, a man and woman came up front and joined others who had gathered to chat with me. They introduced me to their young child and said, “You’re responsible for this!”

That took me back a bit!! But they quickly explained that after listening to me speak on marriage and the family, they were convicted about not having children and then decided to do their best to raise godly offspring for the Lord. They wanted a photo taken of me with their child!

Now I understand what it means that Jesus is the lamb.

One evening at the Creation Museum, I saw a family lingering in our bookstore. I walked up and began talking to them. They shared that their young daughter (I think she was about 10 or 11 years old) had committed her life to the Lord after watching The Last Adam movie at the museum. They said that when it came to the place in the film where the sacrificial lamb was explained, their daughter said, “Now I understand what it means that Jesus is the lamb.” She committed her life to the Lord right there in that theater seat!

When I was speaking in a church in Beverly Hills, California, a couple of years ago, a young man told me he was an atheist when he watched my debate with Bill Nye “the Science Guy” that was held in our museum’s Legacy Hall. He said that watching the debate drove him to actually read the Bible, and as a result, he became an on-fire Christian.

At a staff meeting two years ago, we asked our employees to share a testimony they might have about AiG’s impact on them. I must admit I was thrilled (and surprised) to hear how many staff had heard me speak at a church/conference when they were kids or young adults, and that’s one of the major reasons they wanted to be in ministry and work at AiG.

One staff member heard me speak at a conference several years before coming to work at AiG and told me that, “Hearing the message changed my life.” His life took several dramatic turns, including the loss of his wife to cancer. Today he points to that time of AiG’s teaching as a foundational step to get biblical answers that helped guide his family through many twists and turns.

Continuing a Legacy

These testimonies only scratch the surface. But I wanted to share them with you because of a real burden I have. I know the impact our teaching ministry has had on so many people—and now we see the ongoing impact on this generation. As I look at this culture and the state of much of the church, I so want to see this impact continue and to grow markedly.

As I look at this culture and the state of much of the church, I so want to see this impact continue and to grow markedly.

As long as the Lord gives me health and strength, I want to do all I can to keep getting out the messages the Lord has laid on my heart to as many people as possible. The past 59 + 7 years have had an impact on me in another way. It really hit me recently that my father passed away at the same age I am now! It’s a reminder of the brevity of life, and that only what’s done for the Lord will last.

Really, the ministry of AiG, Creation Museum, and Ark Encounter is, as I’ve said many times, a legacy of my father and mother—godly parents who taught their children to defend the Christian faith and stand boldly and unashamedly on the authority of the Word of God and proclaim the gospel to as many people as possible.

While I’m still able, I want to continue this legacy, so I always look for new ways to reach more souls with the saving gospel message.

Now that we’ve opened the Ark Encounter, we’re seeing thousands of people visit daily, and we are expecting record attendance in 2018. I really want to make sure everyone who visits the Ark has the opportunity to experience our Bible-teaching presentations. So we stepped out in faith to build a multi-purpose auditorium that seats up to 2,500 people.

This new building will enable us to do so much more at the Ark and reach even more people with the message of biblical authority and the gospel. In fact, our research indicates that 30% or more who visit the Ark are non-Christians!

We’ve been blessed by the many supporters who have funded the cost of the actual steel building itself. Our priority now is to fund the 2,500 (moveable) auditorium seats and provide some of the other necessary elements for our teaching presentations, including staging and lighting systems.

We recognize that these are not just chairs—they represent people and opportunities to hear the message of biblical authority and the gospel, maybe for the first time. As I hear the various testimonies from those who once sat in a chair to hear our messages, the burden for me is clear: these seats for our Ark Encounter guests will make it possible for them to hear presentations with life-changing messages.

Please pray that the Ark Encounter guests who will sit in all 2,500 seats will be impacted. We will boldly and lovingly proclaim the truth of God’s Word to them and its life-changing gospel message.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

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