So, You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun – Part 3

For the last couple of weeks, we have talked about working for many years to raise and take care of a family.  Now we are entering or preparing to enter our retirement years.  So, what do we do?

When I retired over 5 years ago, I knew I wanted to spend my time pouring my life into other men.  My desire for many years was to be involved in ministering to men.  Maybe you don’t feel that call on your life.  But rest assure that as a child of God, He is calling you to some form of ministry.  It may not be what we typically think of as ministry, but God has a plan for your life.

The first thing I would recommend for anyone retiring is to have a Sabbath period in your life.  A time of rest.  A time to reflect and seek God in the direction He desires for you.  You could begin to seek that direction before you retire, but you need to take a period of time to rest.  Do some things around the house you want to do or maybe take that extended trip you always wanted to take.  But use the first few months of your retirement to just rest.

As you approach your retirement and during your time of rest, be seeking God, asking Him an honest question; “God, what are You calling me to do in retirement?”  Maybe it is to volunteer at a local hospital, relief organization, or a particular ministry.  God may move you into a position you would have never thought of during your career.  Be open to hearing from God.  Talk to your friends and family about what they see you possibly doing.  They may see skills and talents God has gifted you with that you have yet to recognize.

Remember the story of Moses when God told him to return to Egypt to be the leader of the Hebrews.  Moses, at first, did not think he could do this for several reasons. You can read about that in Exodus 3-4.  But God gave him a helper in his brother Aaron, and God went with him, guiding him for the next 40 plus years in leading Israel.

Maybe God wants to use you in developing a ministry.  I know of an individual because of their connection with the military began a ministry to encourage the men and women being deployed.  Another started a ministry to help military wives who are left behind with housing maintenance. Still, another who has a significant impact in prisons as he speaks to men and prepares them for when they are released back into society.

Many men in retirement are pouring their lives into the next generation, being a living example to the younger generation.  Remember the verse I shared last week from Psalms 71:18.

Even while I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, while I proclaim your power to another generation, your strength to all who are to come.

Or Psalm 78:4,

Tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed.

These are just a couple of scriptures that instruct us to pour our lives into the next generation.  Either through our children and grandchildren or into others.  Paul even told the Thessalonians in his first letter to them that,

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.  (1 Thess. 2:8)

So, as you approach retirement or enter retirement, pray that God would teach you how to apply Psalm 90:12 in your life to number your days carefully so that you may develop wisdom in your heart to minister to the next generation.

For more information on approaching and entering your retirement, I recommended Jeff Haanen’s book An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life.

I pray these last three articles have helped you to reflect and think through the plans God may have for you in your retirement.

To the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike

You’re Retired… Your Ministry Has Just Begun – Part 2

In the last writing, I talked about working for many years to raise and take care of a family.  Now we are ready to retire and maybe relax by traveling or fishing or working on your golf game.  As we get older, we rationalize it was time for those younger to take over the leadership of the church.  We need to hand the mantel of leadership over to future generations at some point; however, we do not need to think our ministry is over.

Those of us in the retiring generation have so much knowledge and experience locked up in our heads the Lord has blessed us with; we need to share this with those who will be and are our future church leaders.

I shared with you last time Moses was 80 years old (Ex. 7:7) when he and his brother first appeared before Pharaoh to state, “Let my people go.”  Joshua was 85 (Joshua 14:10) when he finished marching into the promised land and begin dividing the land between the tribes.  So, what makes men think when we retire from our careers, we can retire from training future generations to lead in a manner God desires.  If you know me, you know I have a phrase I often say, “Often told – rarely trained.”

Let me share a few scriptures with you.

Psalm 71:18 says,

Even while I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me, while I proclaim your power to another generation, your strength to all who are to come.

Psalm 90:12 tells us,

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.

Psalm 92:12-15 says,

The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.  Planted in the house of the LORD, they thrive in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,  to declare: “The LORD is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)

It seems to me the Lord expects us to continue to proclaim and bear fruit in the years of our retirement. 

In Psalm 71:18, the Psalmist asks the Lord not to abandon him while he proclaims God’s power in his old age.  The Psalmist in Psalm 90:12 asks for God to teach us to use our days wisely, for we do not know when the Lord will call us home to be with him in heavenly places.  Then in Psalm 92:12-15, the Psalmist writes that we will continue to bear fruit in our old age.  This doesn’t sound like men who are spending their senior years relaxing.  These are men who are pouring their lives into the future generations to ensure the next generation leads the church as God has instructed.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul said, We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”  Paul was ready to share his own life with those in Thessalonica.  As we approach retirement or as we are in retirement, are we pleased to share our own lives with the future leaders of the church.

We‘ gray hair’ men have so much knowledge stored away in our brains and have learned so much in life as we have grown in the Lord; why would we not let younger men know we are available to share that knowledge through discipling and mentoring.

I encourage you to approach your pastor about starting a ministry in your church for retired men to sign up as a discipler and mentor.  Watch how God will use you in the years of ‘retirement.’  You will be amazed.  Or maybe you just go and, after prayer, find someone and tap them on the shoulder and invite them to meet with you periodically. You will be blessed, and so will they.

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.  Give strong consideration to disciple and mentor someone. 

Together in the challenge and adventure to disciple men – Mike.

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