Not planning to retire anytime soon, maybe when I’m around 70, so I have a few years left. In those few years, I will work toward my physical retirement. I’ll try to put some money away, strive to get to that 70 year threshold to get the most out of Social Security. Work toward the point where I don’t have to have that full time job to survive anymore. So even though it is a few years down the road, it is on my mind a little more lately.
Now there is another aspect of retirement that has to be taken into account. Let’s say I am fortunate enough that the congregation keeps me until that point, who will take my place? The traditional way to go about it is to put an advertisement out by whichever means is best at that time. We get some individuals to respond, invite some in and then do our best to get the best fit for the body here. Then after a weekend of spending time with them, we make the best choice and invite them to come be a part of God’s work in the kingdom here.
This has worked for congregations for years, even decades, well. . . usually. I know of some congregations where things didn’t work out, and I am sure you do also. One weekend really isn’t enough time to know where a person is. If only there was another way to go about this. One that is less traditional, one where you don’t have to rely on both sides putting their best foot forward for a couple of days. One that maybe is better than what has been done in the past.
What if we knew this person longer, like for years. What if this person submitted their life to Christ at this very congregation? What if the person was one of our own? I believe we all would like that scenario. Someone who we knew and who knew us. Someone who had the same focus, the same priorities, and the same goals as the congregation. Someone, who grew up here.
We need to be challenging our kids in a different way. We encourage them to be apart of sports, to excel academically, even artistically with what we see as their talents. These are all good aspects of our kids growing. But do we challenge them and put them into an environment to be ministers, missionaries, those willing to step forward and serve the local or international body of Christ?
Eight years from now I hope to retire, or at least step back some. Who is going to pick up what will need to be done here? What country will be blessed because a group of kids from this congregation decided they were headed to foreign soil to bring God’s love through serving and sharing the word? None. It won’t happen, unless we as members, as grandparents, as parents step up right now and set the example. The example of showing what is truly important in this world. I challenge you to pray for every child in our church directory to be the people who will make a spiritual difference in our world.
We say we want to see God do great things! Are we willing to give Him our time, money, energy--and yes, even our kids-- to make it happen? If we are, it’s time to start working. Being the example of putting the kingdom first above anything else in our lives. Inviting people to know Jesus, making decisions based on eternity, and sacrificing our own ways to grow the Kingdom of God. Tomorrow, our kids will become exactly what we show them today.
Wondering what country will be blessed,