…pastors when they retire, that is.
Once again, as I contemplate an entry on another blog, I find myself wondering, “why us?”.
In our local United Methodist Church we have worshiping with us three retired UM pastors, and one UM pastor on a leave of absence who has accepted an appointment to another church starting this summer. Of our retired pastors, two of them are at least in their 70s, and the eldest is over 90.
Of the three UM Churches in town, as far as I know only one other retired pastor is in the other two churches. Yet we have three, plus the one on leave. Why us?
For whatever reason they all are comfortable with us. Ours is about as healthy a United Methodist church as you will find in this part of the country. It’s not a liberal UMC; the people are quite conservative and evangelical, and our current pastor for the past five years is certainly evangelically-minded, and holds firmly to a high Christology. I have noticed in my conversations with the other pastors that at least two of the four are also in the evangelical camp.
I think it’s a matter of “birds of a feather flock together.” The one other retired pastor I’m aware of in town was extremely liberal, and he goes to the most liberal church of the three.
Anything we can learn from this? I’m just saying, it’s something interesting.
The concept of a retired pastor may be rather foreign to some of us. I can’t hardly imagine retiring from the service of our Lord, but the fact is that when we reach a certain age we find we cannot do some things as well as we used to, for physical and/or mental reasons, I suppose. So I think that it’s probably a good thing to have a retirement age for pastors, but the truth is it varies from person to person. And just because a person no longer leads a congregation doesn’t mean he can’t (or doesn’t) serve the Lord in a certain capacity even yet.