What is the Retirement Reformation about?
There is so much more to life when you stop working than just recreation and leisure. A career may come to an end, but God’s calling to serve him with meaning and purpose lasts for a lifetime--and with it comes the opportunity to keep learning, growing, and experiencing joy and fulfillment in serving others.
What is the impact of this ‘take it easy’ view of retirement?
With millions of Christians focused on kicking back rather than serving others with their experiences and resources, the kingdom of God is not advancing as it might. There is also the personal loss, as seniors miss out on the fulfillment and enrichment, meaning and purpose they could find in service to God and others. Every person is equipped for some kind of service; embracing that call is energizing.
Why are they not more active in the church?
Two main reasons. They have bought the world’s message that retirement is about focusing on themselves and taking it easy. And most churches focus more on young people and families, giving just a slight head nod to seniors, as long as they keep giving.
How did this problem come about?
It’s a result of the reality of longevity. Thirty years of “retirement” is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Better health care in all its facets is a factor; more of us are taking care of our bodies and what we eat. As a result, 30 years from the end of work to death is a reality.
How did you discover this issue?
Having successfully helped thousands of people save well for their retirement, Retirement Reformation founder Bruce Bruinsma was shocked to discover that most did not have any plans for how they would spend their time. When asked what they intended to, 85 percent said, “Nothing,” or a version of that headlined by “leisure.”
What is the answer?
Christians need to be given a new, bigger vision for their “final quarter,” and provided with tools and resources helping them to make the most of the three different stages of retirement life. Retirement is not one homogeneous period; people change as they age. As a result, churches and Christian organizations need to change their culture from a negative view of aging to a positive view of it being a time for contributing.
What do you mean by a new, bigger vision?
When thinking about retirement, most people stop at finances. There is so much more to be understood. People need to also consider their spiritual, emotional, relational and physical health. Only this sort of holistic approach will make a rich and fulfilling “final quarter” truly possible. God has a plan for each of us; we need to embrace it.
What are you doing to address the problem?
The Retirement Reformation hopes to spur a movement mobilizing a whole generation of Christians approaching and during retirement, and help churches and Christian organizations equip and empower seniors for service. The organizations also need to change their culture and attitude towards those with experience, wisdom and commitment. We will accomplish this by providing resources including books, seminars, online resources and the tremendous content already developed by our Retirement Reformation Roundtable members. Bruce Bruinsma’s new book, Retirement Reformation, will be published in January.
How are you going to start this movement?
We are bringing together a group of leading thinkers and writers on senior-related issues from different backgrounds and communities for the inaugural Retirement Reformation Roundtable, Nov. 12-14. The insightful and challenging essays presented there will form the basis for a groundbreaking book. There will be more resources developed which are intended to inspire and equip individuals, churches and faith-based organizations to embrace a more holistic, more fulfilling, more fruitful view of retirement.