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Wanted: Retirement Coaches

Several weeks ago I read an article about retirement coaches. These are individuals who have made it their business to help people navigate how to spend their retirement years. Unlike retirement planning that focuses on managing money, these coaches help adults manage their “post-career” life.

Wouldn’t it be great if the church began to take on the ministry of equipping people to live out a purposeful retirement? One way to do this is to look at the members of your congregation and consider who is currently retired that would be good mentors for those approaching retirement. Here’s one example of this from my book, Baby Boomers and Beyond:

Retirement Mentors

We all need mentors for all the different stages of our lives, and there is a need for those who have retired successfully to be mentoring the soon-to-be-retired.

The way Bob and Deannie are living out their lives in retirement provides an example for many in their church and community to follow. In fact, when I visited this couple, they told me that certain adults in their church who are ten years younger than they are have said, “We want to pattern our retirement years after you.”

Bob was a corporate executive who was downsized at age fifty-four. He and Deannie spent the first year and a half of retirement completely focused on renovating a new home, but during this time, one of the pastors at his church was praying for him. Through the pastor’s persistence and a small group Bible study on Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, Bob began leading the Career Center ministry through his church. He was considered a part of the church staff, though unpaid, and spent about six hours a day four days a week managing the Career Center. This ministry was open to anyone in the community looking for employment, and the center provided a place for them to work on their r~Easum~EAs, use the telephone, and take inventories to determine their personal skill sets.

Bob used his business experience and his skills in recruiting and sales to form relationships with many of the leading companies in the city. These companies would come to the church on certain days to conduct interviews with interested individuals. They helped some twenty to thirty people every week.

Deannie’s retirement experience has been similar, though she said she has been learning that she doesn’t always have to be busy, that she can instead wait on the Lord to show her opportunities to speak of God to those who cross her path. She told me, “I’m more prayerful now to watch for where God is at work around me, rather than just filling up my calendar. My goal is to slow down and ask God what He wants me to do.”

The couple have participated in a number of overseas mission trips with their church, and the two of them also led the volunteer ministry at their church for more than three years. This was again an unpaid staff position where they were expected to participate in church staff meetings and to enjoy both the privileges and responsibilities that come with being on a church staff.

Tell Their Story

Chances are you have at least a few people in your congregation that would be great retirement mentors. Consider who those individuals are and then look for opportunities to have them tell their story. Perhaps this is through a sermon illustration or a short video testimony or an article about these individuals that you post on your church blog. Then, as you recognize people in your congregation that are approaching retirement, suggest that they have coffee with one of these ‘retirement mentors’.

We need to take notice of those people who are living out a God-honoring retirement and learn from them.

Can you think of people who would be great retirement mentors? How have they navigated the season of retirement and what can we learn from them?

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