Strong to the Finish

A FRIEND IN HIS THIRTIES told me he was looking for a new church.

"The senior pastor has retired," he said.

"Why change churches now?" I asked. My friend had been on occasion less than complimentary of his pastor. I was also surprised his pastor was retiring; he appeared to be at least a decade away from the threescore and five that usually mark retirement.

My friend replied, "My pastor is retiring, but not resigning. He has stopped leading and stopped studying, but he continues to do enough pastoral care to survive. My family and I are in one of the more stressful stages of our lives, and it doesn't appear the level of our anxiety will diminish any time soon. We need a pastor and a vibrant church, not a curator at the museum of the faithful."

After our conversation, I thought about my position. I realized my friend's pastor was three years older than me, and I was forty-nine at the time. I expected close to twenty more years of effective ministry. Would people ever say that of me? Or worse ...

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