Faith and work for retirees: Serving those in a new season of work

When we think about retirement, we often think of men and women enjoying a season of leisure and rest — golf resorts, taking grandkids on vacation, and, most importantly, not working. But does the retiree still need a vision for how to spend their time in a way that benefits others through work, even if not compensated? How can pastors help cast this vision within their churches and areas of influence?

I had coffee with a sister in Christ who is a retiree and a fellow apologetics aficionado. After swapping favorite books about apologetics, she shared how she has listened to sermons and looked at the Made to Flourish website and doesn’t hear or see anything about retirees like herself. She was right. During my early days with Made to Flourish, I noticed gaps in the faith and work literature. One of those gaps included resources about and for retirees who still desire to work with their hands, head, and heart in a new season of flexibility and opportunity.

At Made to Flourish, our mission is to “empower a growing network of pastors and their churches to integrate faith, work, and economic wisdom for the flourishing of their communities.” At first blush, Made to Flourish seems to only exist for those engaged in Monday through Friday, compensated work. And that often implies that retirees — those who have exited the compensated work life — are outside this faith, work, and economic wisdom dialogue.

However, consider our definition of work: “all moral and meaningful activity — paid or unpaid — apart from leisure and rest.” This definition of work means retirees are, indeed, integral to this discussion. In other words, retirees may retire from their daily, compensated work, but they are still called to engage in fruitful and meaningful work for the common good. Made to Flourish’s director of city expansion, Charlie Self, presented a session at the Faith and Work Summit, Faith at Work for the “Rest of Us” that touches on this idea. You can watch the video:

This month we will begin a series that explores what the Bible says about retirement and practical implications of Scripture’s teachings for retirees.

Some pastoral questions to consider:

  1. How early in a person’s work-life journey should a pastor speak about life after compensated work?
  2. As more and more Baby Boomers retire, how are you preparing them for life after compensated work?
Topics: Retirement, Theology of Work

About the Author

Luke Bobo serves as director of resource and curriculum development at Made to Flourish. He worked for 15 years in the marketplace as an engineer before earning his M.Div. and Ph.D., eventually serving as the executive director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary.