So, You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun – Part 1

4/22/2021

Several months ago, I asked Men Ministry Leaders and Pastors what is the one question or comment you would like to ask regarding ministering to men.  One responded by asking why is it as men get older, it so easy for them to relinquish their roles in the church?  I would add to that, do men who are retiring from a career think they can also withdraw from church ministry. 

This is a three-part post you will see over the next few weeks. I am going to talk about men who are nearing retirement or are in retirement and what I think God may desire for you to do. As a Men’s Ministry Leader, we need to help men understand their identity is not found in their work – though many see it as such. As Christians, our identity is found in Christ, and as long as we are on this planet, God has a work for us to do.

If you are nearing retirement or have retired, you have spent many years in a career that helped you raise a family.  You have watched your children become adults and are now raising their own families.  Maybe you have grandchildren, and you are looking forward to spending quality time with them. Perhaps you and your wife are thinking about taking some nice trips around the country or throughout the world. 

You deserve it.  You have worked hard, long hours, odd shifts, when you were sick, maybe injured.  You may have commuted many miles as I did; 100 miles round trip.  Trying to stay awake while driving home in the morning after working all night and not knowing how you got home as you don’t remember those last 10 miles.  Now you say it is time to slow down and relax.  I get it – you deserve it.

Unfortunately, many men who are retiring from their career is also retiring from church.  I don’t mean they are not attending church anymore; they may still be faithfully attending.  Maybe teaching Sunday School or getting together with other men and doing some mission activities periodically.  But in my travels, I hear retired men talking about it is time for the younger generation to take up the mantel and begin leading the church.

I get it.  We do need to hand the mantel of leadership over to the next generation at some point.  But have we prepared the next generation for leadership spiritually?  As retirees, we may not be in visible leadership positions anymore, but we still need to take young men under our wings and encourage and continue to help them grow spiritually.

Think about it, men of the Boomer Generation, we are retiring from our careers in our 60s, 20 years younger than when Moses was starting his ministry.  Exodus 7:7 tells us; Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:7).

In Joshua 14:10, Joshua was talking to his people and made this statement;

As you see, the LORD has kept me alive these forty-five years as he promised, since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness.  Here I am today, eighty-five years old.

Joshua had just completed leading his people into the Promise land and had fought many battles.  Now he was leading them as they divide the land for each of the tribes.

Retired men, we have so much knowledge stored away in our brains and have learned so much in life as we have grown in the Lord.  I want to encourage you to share that knowledge with younger men. You can do that through the ministry of discipling and mentoring.

Start a ministry in your church for retired men to sign up as a discipler and mentor.  One of the joys I have had was the privilege to disciple college students who reached out to me.  Watch how God will use you in these years.  You will be amazed. 

You may be retired from a career or maybe thinking about it.  But remember, God is NOT through with you yet.  As long as He allows you to walk on this planet, He still has a mission for you, regardless of your age.  Give strong consideration to disciple and mentor those younger than you. 

Next timie we will look a little deeper into this thing about Retired Men mentoring.

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

Encouraging Men to Walk Together

4/12/2021

Remember when you taught someone how to perform a task, and you would tell them, “This is not rocket science?”  Well, after working in men’s ministry, coordinating events for men, discipling men, facilitating men’s small groups, and meeting one of one with men, let me tell you – ministering to men IS ROCKET SCIENCE!  I don’t say that to discourage you but to let you know that I know the frustration many of you may have as you seek to get your men involved in the ministries designed to bring men into a deeper walk with Christ.

I was talking to someone a while back who had started a small group a few weeks earlier, and I could tell in his voice there was a little frustration.  This was the first time he had ever attempted to lead a group of men.  I encouraged him to just be obedient to the calling God had placed on his life and let God do the work.  Continue to pour his life into these men, praying for them and being there for them.  Even if only one man shows up, that would be who God would want you to share life with at that moment.  Paul said it best to the people of Thessalonica when he wrote in his second letter to the Thessalonians, “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (2 Thess. 2:8).

We often think we need to have a deep bible study when we get our men together, but sometimes we need just to do life and allow God to open the opportunities for us to share the gospel or a word of encouragement.  I meet with a group of men once a month to have breakfast just to talk and let them share what is happening in their life, getting to know them, and opening myself up to them, not having any agenda.  Another group I meet with once a week as we study through the disciplines of a godly man, all to develop relationships and impact the Gospel of Christ in each others’ lives by either just sharing life or speaking the Word directly into their lives.

When I first began to work in Men’s Ministry, I thought we had to have big events and get as many men to attend as possible.  I reasoned that if we had these events and could get men to attend, men’s lives would begin to change.  However, I quickly learned this is only a small piece of the puzzle.  There is nothing wrong with big events, and they do have a place; but, these events should be used to connect with men.  From these events, you should always be looking for ways to encourage men to take the next right  step; to become involved in a discipling relationship.

Working with men is all about developing those relationships for the purpose to disciple. Even putting yourself out there to share some of your life’s successes and failures.  Men need to see you as being just as fallible as they are.  They need to know you have overcome situations in your life, and your hope is rooted in your relationship with Christ.  When men see you as one of them, then they will begin to open up.  It doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time. 

Often we use Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” in our respective men’s ministries.  There is truth here, but the only way this can be applied in our lives is to spend time with other men who have a passion for growing deeper in a relationship with God.  We will permit other men to challenge us when they see us missing the mark, holding us accountable in our walk with Christ.  This can only occur if we are intentional about developing discipling relationships.

Let me encourage you if you do not have such a man in your life; find one.  You will be blessed to have that man who will challenge you, be a listening ear when you need to talk, and, more importantly, pray for you.  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  To have someone in your life that will sharpen you, knock off those rough edges and smooth the edge so you can be ready to fight the battle that lies before us every day.

There is a battle for men’s souls happening all around us.  And we need men who will stand shoulder to shoulder with us every day.  Will you be a man who will stand shoulder to shoulder with another man in this battle?  Will you pour your life into other men?  Do you want to change families in your church?  Do you want to change your church to be more of an impact on your community?  Then start by sharing life with other men – the Gospel of Christ – developing intentional relationships that will sharpen each of us to be the man God desires for us all.

Together in the adventure and challenge to disciple men,

Mike Sandlin