My desire is to have a lifetime marked and highlighted by a continuous and growing relationship with God. In addition, to have a lifetime marked by a continuous and growing relationship with those who are important to me. I am growing older, it is inevitable. Consequently, I want to understand what it means to grow older with those relationships in tack.
Dr. Hans Finzel
I don’t care for the word “retired”, because to me it sounds like I am “benched.” But that is just me. When my co-author Rick Hicks and I were writing, “Launch Your Encore,” we interviewed a lot of aging Baby Boomers. “Retirement” is different things for each of us. One older retired gentleman we ran in to said, “My retired friends either love it or hate it.” So we asked, “Why do they hate it?” “Because they have not figured out what do to and they are bored stiff.”
The older we get the more different we become. It is imperative that church leaders recognize those differences and not attempt to minister with this group as a single entity. Traditionally, ministry with those in the retirement years meant providing ways for senior adults to combat loneliness and find purpose through social events and outings, aka. bus trips and potluck luncheons. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these activities, they neglect to recognize the breadth of diversity among those in the second half of life.
Dr. Gary G. Hoag
A global view of retirement reveals a mix of different perspectives. When viewed alongside biblical evidence, further helpful insights for application come into view. In America, for example, most understand retirement as the time for living off of accumulated finances. Strategic saving gives people the option to stop working and to live off the income from assets earned or pension promised over their remaining days. For many it’s a time to “eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19).
The phenomenon of what we’ve traditionally known as “retirement” is shifting. Many people want more out of this life phase than a lower golf handicap. They want to be engaged in something significant. And - they don’t want to wait until they are 65 to make an intentional shift towards more margin, deeper relationships, and greater meaning and impact.
As I turned 60, my wife and I felt led to become part of a new church plant with a 26-year old pastor. For the first three years, I ended up becoming a “pew-sitter” with nowhere to serve. Recently, we starting hosting a home group and have been invited to join the elder team. Personal meetings and meals with the pastor where I hoped to offer some pastoral wisdom and insights often mainly turned into listening sessions. I live every day in this need for a Retirement Reformation to happen on an intensely personal because of my involvement with an enthusiastic young pastor and church family that isn’t quite sure how to involve senior saints with a wealth of skills, experiences, time and resources.
Dr. Peter Menconi
Unfortunately, many older Americans don’t know what they can do to change society for the better. Many feel immobilized by the rapid changes that have altered the world they thought they knew. In addition, many older adults are highly critical of the changes they see in their families, churches, communities, country, and world. The chasm between them and younger people has grown wider. Many older adults feel like this chasm is too wide, too difficult, and even, too dangerous to cross. Consequently, the generations in America have become more distant from one another.
The two great commands of Jesus (Matt. 22:37-40) provide us with a general summary of what it means to finish well: “To love God with all our heart, soul and mind. And to love our neighbor as our self.” We can make a list of priorities that would guide us in fulfilling them. At the end, we will hear a good commendation from the Lord when both are in full force.
I’m excited about the ways that Acts and I can contribute to the Retirement Reformation. I’m prepared to serve as a research resource to help us gain more understanding of the longevity dividend, and as a liaison to spread the R3 movement to additional faith-based CCRCs. This might entail white papers, articles, conference presentations, and public relations. Bruce even mentioned the idea of a book.
Something important is taking place that has never occurred before in human history. People are living for decades after they finish working. In the past, there was hardly any time between a person’s working years and the grave. That has changed. Today, when a person turns 65, they typically have another 20 years ahead of them. Many will live far longer. In fact, the fastest growing age group in the nation, measured as percentage in- crease, is people who are celebrating their 100th birthdays!
Retirement is obviously a very culturally-based phenomenon. For nearly a century Americans have shared the notion that vocational retirement will commonly occur around the mid-sixties. Some retirement decisions are mandatory, but most are self-initiated. They are, of course, heavily influenced by federal laws/benefits, physical and mental health, unions, pensions, media advertising, employer policies, and other factors—loud voices that can easily drown out the whispering call of Jesus.
Richard & Leona Bergstrom
We at Re-Ignite believe “retirement” is not the ending. In fact, if one gives the music a chance, a quiet melody begins to resound. It is the strain of an interlude. It is time for breathing, examining, resting, slowing down—renewing. We make the case that time for personal reflection, renewal and self-discovery is the foundation to reforming retirement into something grand, exciting, fulfilling and meaningful. An interlude is a time for re-igniting dreams, re-building meaning, re-energizing hope, and re-engaging in the lives of our families, communities and the world. It is a time for re-dedicating our lives to the One who created us.