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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Prince of Preachers, Jan 6, 2003.
should a Pastor retire, or preach till there is no more preach in him?
A pastor reaches a point at which he should probably retire from pastoring. That does not mean he is no longer involved in ministry, but unfortunatley, as men get older they often begin to loose the ability to make judgements as wisely as they did when they were younger. There are many men whom God used to build large churches, but who remained the pastor even though they were not able to think as clearly as they had in their younger days. As a result of hanging on too long, some destroyed or weakened the work in their later days that they had labored so long to build. If a pastor is faithfully involved in the process of discipling men, surely there should be a man who can step into his shoes and administer the church.
I was talkin' with one of my deacon's just yesterday--I'm 43 years old--consider myself in my prime--mentally can stay up with any 22 year old fresh out of seminary---but anyway, he and I started talking about retirement--I calculated yesterday that I have 26 years left to go to normal retirement--that is gonna put me around the 70ish bracket--but I suppose the thought of this thread is---how old is considered too old--I don't know--some preachers would do well to go ahead and quit right now before they are 40(forty)--get their CDL license and go to driving a Kenworth or a Greyhound crosscountry---I've seen more young bucks destroy a congregation waaaaay a whole lot worse than an older one---then some preachers can handle any situation that can possibly be thrown at them--waaaayy on up into their 80's--
Unless I get Alzemier's Disease or something--I believe that I will be able to handle myself way on up until I at least reach Caleb's age--what 'chu think!? What about yourself? Are you gonna be one of those ones--I mean, what 'chu gonna do when your are cookin' along at about 57 years old--and you are in your office one day--writin' up a "barn burner" for Sunday Morning and your silly frazzlin' deacons come in and starts tellin' you you're too old to handle the job--and they want some fresh meat in there---you'd sqearm and squeel all the way out the door with your library in your hand just like I would, wouldn't ya?!!
Calculate the ages of the top Generals of World War 2--probably the average age of the typical 3 to 4 Star General was in the neighborhood of 55-65 years old---they won the war with their words being translated to a big sheet of paper--passed all the way down the line to the 18 year old infantryman with the M1 Garand in his hand who more than likely couldn't find his rear end with both of his hands--but that's just my thought! I'm hangin' in there--and I want you to, too!!
Your Southern Baptist preachin' friend,
You also probably lose your energy level as you start to get older, making it harder if not impossible to keep up with the demands of the ministry, especially in a larger congregation. There is probably no one right answer for this question.
It is always interesting to hear discussions about retirement. When I first started to preach, retirement was not a thought because we had no retirement plans. Our only income came from preaching engagements and old age security.
In this age, we can retire with a decent income and so our physical needs are met. This leaves the question of ability to perform the functions of a minister.
I was retired just over ten years ago because of a series of strokes. It took me three years to learn how to speak again. After some rehabilitation, I served as an interim-minister, and it was great for me. I agree, however, that the daily rigors of ministry is tough. I was engaged at one church to hold open office one day a week and preach on Sunday. This was fine for a few weeks, but then the pastor in me took hold and I started to do daily visitation, hospital and nursing home calls....to make a long story short, it was more than I could take physically and mentally and wore me down. This is something retirees must remember when assuming ministry.
There are many things a retired minister can do. I got involved with young ministers as a mentor; someone they could call upon when they were troubled in ministry; someone they could openly discuss problems and situations.
I still go about preaching, and do visitation when I feel up to it. I gave up doing weddings, funerals and baptisms, but find a full plate in other areas of ministry.
When I tell people I am a retired minister, I am often told that a minister can never retire. That is true, but we can change direction.
Change direction is what we must do. At 76, I am now happy to sit back a little and let the younger chaps lead the way.
One thing I decided to do in retirement was to make contact with all the couples I married over the years by post. I write a letter to each couple once a year and find out where their lives have taken them. It has been very rewarding.
Do not be afraid of the word retirement, but be prepared for it; plan it.
I'm with Pastor Larry on this one. It is totally unpredictable. Some men are in their prime at 40 and others don't get there until their fifties. In either case both start to run out of energy to effectively carry out the ministry of a pastor sometime in the 60s. Dr. Clearwaters used say there is one stage beyond ripe.....its called rotten. That is what we should be trying to avoid.
One of our effective church planters retired from the pastorate at age 65 from a church he had started. A couple of year later he was asked to start a church in a city where the IFB church had gone neo. With his wisdom and experience he was able to start a new church in that community and many of the strong core of the neo church came and helped him start the new church. He is now 70 and back in retirement. Why we might even press him into service again if needed.
Because of illness, I could only rarely preach and then not have any energy to recupe any strength. And I was only 51 and had "burned out" from overwork in the ministry.
Thankfully I have been restored to health and feel like I have many years ahead of ministry. BUT . . as God controls the hearts of a king, even the steps (and stops) of a good man are likewise ordered by the Lord.
I always said I wanted to die preaching in the pulpit . . but then thought how traumatic that would be for everyone else.
Now my goal is to simply LIVE until I DIE. Too many of my friends start dying way too early!