Maybe you were loved deeply. Maybe your personal identity and life’s purpose were based - mostly – on your role as The Pastor. Maybe your biological clock is based on the liturgical calendar. Maybe you were blessed with enough years to retire from your church, honored and adored. But now you are retired.
Maybe you have lost your reason to get up in the morning.
Your friends are all in your (former) church. Your spouse’s friends are all in your (former) church. Your kids are even (still) in your (former) church.
What’s a retired pastor to do? It’s hard to make new friends in your 70s. It’s impossible to make lifelong friends in your 70s.
But it’s not too late to start a new chapter that doesn’t involve your former church. Please. For the sake of that congregation. For the sake of the pastors who will follow you – leave that church behind.
This post is actually for the 20 – 50-something pastors out there. For your own sanity and emotional health, please find some non-church friends, non-church hobbies, non-church interests. Do it now before you are so enmeshed in Church World that you can’t have a conversation with someone without saying the words, “In my church . . .”
- I’m not talking about pastors who paint but all their paintings are hanging on the walls of the church building.
- I’m not talking about pastors who play golf with guys from the church’s Men’s Group.
- I’m not talking about pastors who write poetry about Jesus.
- I’m not talking about pastors who weave paraments for the sanctuary.
- I’m not talking about pastors who run marathons to raise money for their church mission trip.
I’m talking about painting, golfing, writing, weaving, running just for you. I’m talking about joining a wine club with no parishioners in it, taking classes that will never work their way into a sermon, having friends who don’t even believe in God – much less belong to your congregation.
If you do this now, you won’t force someone like me to have to meet with you in your 70s to remind you that you are no longer the pastor of your (former) church and you need to find new friends and new interests late in life.
Jesus had really interesting friends who didn’t necessarily hang out in synagogues and the Temple talking about scroll colors and parable ideas. I’m pretty sure about that.
Mosaic of pastors who do other things too.