Since 2011 the generation known as the “Baby Boomers” (Baby Boomers are those born between the years 1946-1964) have been reaching retirement age at the rate of 8,000 a day. This trend will continue for the next fourteen years. As these many thousands of Boomers enter retirement their lives will change in many ways. Many of them will be relocating, others will be buying RV’s and traveling the highways to see America.
With such a large change in this particular demographic of our nation it is bound to affect our churches as well. As with all changes there is the possibility for both positive change and negative. There will be many Christian “Boomers” who, once retired, will pack up their stuff and head out. They will travel for the next ten to twenty years, never in church or just sporadically attending. Then there will be those who will see retirement as an opportunity to be seized for the cause of Christ. They will offer up their golden years in the service of their Savior, devoting much of the new found time in helping their church and its various ministries. While visiting in Cincinnati I met such a couple and sat down and interviewed them.
My friends Marvin and Nancy have been married for fifty-two years. They have been members of their church now for twenty-seven years. Both retired now, they remain active members in their church. Marvin, retired after almost thirty years at Procter and Gamble, now works part-time as a maintenance man at the church. Nancy helps the church by overseeing the church library. They were both serving in Awana Club in their church until a year ago when Nancy’s health would not permit her, but Marvin still works in the Awana Club at the age of seventy-eight. Another ministry that they have is overseeing their church’s missions house, which is how I became aquatinted with them. They do all the cleaning and upkeep of the house, and make sure that it is nicely stocked with good foods and drinks.
When I asked Marvin about working there at the church in his retirement he responded that it is important that we finish right. “I don’t see in the Bible where you reach an age of retiring from working for the Lord,” Marvin said. “You should be useful and helpful as long as you can. With age, the temporal and material things do not seem as important as they might seem in one’s youth. You begin to look at eternity and what really matters.” He commented that working for the church has been the best job that he has ever had.
I asked them if they had any friends who, upon reaching retirement age, had gotten away from church. They responded that they actually have many friends who have not only gotten away from serving the Lord, but who had completely gotten out of church.
“If given the opportunity to speak to your friends what would you say to them?” I asked.
Marvin: “There are a lot of ministries that you can be involved in. Each ministry needs help. Do things for other people, help, serve, and don’t just think about yourself.”
Nancy: “By leaving the church you are missing many blessings in fellowshipping and working with other believers.”
Marvin and Nancy aren’t the only ones in their church serving God with their retirement. Mr. Ellis, who is ninety years old, goes out every week on church visitation. I also met another great group of retirees in Marietta, Ohio who help the Bearing Precious Seed ministry by putting together copies of the scripture in the basement of their church.
Not only could your local church use your help, but I have met some older couples who have also dedicated their retirement to helping in missions. You may not be able to learn a new language but there are many church plants going on here in America. I am sure that these church planters would welcome volunteers who would be willing to come and help them for a month or even a year with their new church. There is much to do, and if God has blessed you with a good pension, good health, and a good retirement, then take these blessings and use them for God’s glory and the building up of His kingdom.