Where do pastors go to after they retire?

Which church do pastors go to after they retire? There are pastors who are one-church pastors. There are others who have served several churches during the period of their pastoral service. What are some of the factors that determine where the pastor will go to after retirement?

A pastor may have a painful exit and continuing in the church that caused the hurt is difficult. He or she leaves for another church because he or she feels that there is no welcome or acceptance there. Seeing old enemies who hurt them may re-open old wounds and that can be all too painful.

A pastor may need a sabbatical from ministry: a lengthy period of rest, renewal and retooling. Staying in a church he or she served in, will make it difficult for him or her to rest from ministry. He or she will hear of needs, problems and end up helping, visiting, mentoring.

A pastor may leave the church he had served to facilitate the establishment of the new lead pastor’s leadership in the church. If he or she stayed on, people may still look to him or her as the shepherd and leader. Of course there are exceptions, where the new pastor is secure and the retiring pastor knows how to keep from interfering.

A pastor may leave the church to take on a new assignment in another church that invited him or her over to help out in ministry, or even take on a paid role. He or she may also go to another country on a missions assignment.

A pastor may leave the church because if he had stayed on he would be able to do a lot of ministry, but all for free, something he had always done for Christ but with financial compensation. Rightly or wrongly, the pastor may feel sorely taken advantage of, “I am doing the same work, but not paid at all.” This is a real test of maturity and doing ministry for love of God, not for payment.

A pastor may leave to have a new experience of church. A Pentecostal pastor may end up in a liturgical church, and vice versa. A small church pastor may prefer a large church experience, and vice versa. A pastor may just want to avoid the “institutionalism” of church, and be in fellowship with an family kind of house church.

A pastor may leave simply for pragmatic reasons: be where their grown-up  children are so as to be able to help them care for the grandchildren; or attend the church closest to their home.

A pastor may very well stay in the church he has served, and loved, because he sees it as family despite all its flaws, and despite all the sorrow he has experienced while leading it.

To read about why pastors resign click HERE.




Serving men from the marketplace

The pastors initiated some pastoral care when we found that a number of men were between jobs. They were mainly professionals  in manufacturing, retail, finance and service industries. We formed a WhatsApp chat group with Wai Tuck as a co-ordinator. We called it Men In Transition. We met them for prayer and meditation (lectio divina), sharing, and meals periodically.

Reflection, lectio divina, sharing and prayer

Last week Tom Cannon and I met them for a few hours of reflection on their vocational history. We got them to draw a timeline and reflect on the high and low points of their years of working life. We asked them to ponder how God was present in their careers, using Old Testament Joseph’s timeline as an example. It opened their eyes. Then Tom led them in a lectio divina on the passage Isaiah 43:1-7. This was followed with a time of sharing their reflections. We listened to their stories of pain, victories, struggles, weaknesses and wrapped up everything by bring these to the Lord in prayer. The Lord was present to impart peace and comfort.

Men in Transition having lunch at The Ranch

Then we proceeded to The Ranch for a $10 set meal. Lovely morning; wonderful fellowship! To do work that encourages, enlightens and give hope to people you care about is such a satisfying thing.

Young parents discipling children

Young parents sharing their thoughts about discipling children

It was a significant meeting: pastoral team, children’s ministry core leaders, and the young parents. We wanted to share our thoughts about discipling children, the respective roles of the different partners, and our modest hopes and aspirations, and especially to gather feedback from them.

There were a few things I picked up from the feedback they gave:

  • Young parents are deeply appreciative of the dedication, care and sacrifices of children’s ministry lay volunteers.
  • Young parents are eager to disciple their children and give them what’s best for them spiritually and developmentally.
  • Young parents know the importance of their role in discipling parents and want to be better than what their parents were with them.
  • Young parents want to disciple their children but are short on time, energy and know-how to actually do it.
  • Young parents prefer informal learning to formal classroom learning. They rather have a picnic or informal meal with other young parents and be able to exchange ideas, share problems and solutions, and get to know one another and let children grow up together.
  • Young parents want to connect with other young parents at the same stage of parenting as they can identify with and comfort and encourage each other along a similar journey.
  • Young parents find little edification in being part of a cell (which has nothing planned for children) as they would be too occupied with minding their child.

Interesting information and feedback for the pastoral team to ponder over. Wonder what you think of their feedback?