Monday, July 12, 2010

What Do We Do When the Roof Changes?

Sooner than we ever imagined, some day, our roof is going to change. Retirement will set in and I will no longer be the pastor. Preacher, yes - pastor, no. Retirement may also mean a change in housing. The preacher's roof will change literally. We may be downsizing to a property more in line with what age and physical abilities will allow us to maintain. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, I wouldn't be surprised to see a huge expansion in condominium construction. Condos appear to be the house of choice for the future.
Retirement also means changing churches. I'm not the first preacher to imagine that somehow I could retire quietly to the back row of my church and let some young kid take over "my" church, but honestly, I hope I have better sense. I hope I am wise and considerate enough of the next pastor to get out of his way - far out of his way - and let him do his job without fear that I'm looking over his shoulder. I've had that experience and I don't intend to inflict it or myself on someone else. I can count on two fingers the total number of pastors I know who have successfully remained with their churches in retirement.
Yes, the next man will make mistakes, just as we all have. Yes, he will make changes. He must. He is not the same person as the pastor he follows. Yes, he will take the church in a different direction. But as long as the new direction is still biblically sound, that's his business, not mine. There is only one thing I could hope for as I anticipate retirement some day - that my church lasts longer than I do. After that, my job is done.

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