On a personal level this is not so bad, it is another season in a person's life...our lifestyles need to adjust to accommodate the changes taking place in our body and mind, and life's circumstances.
However a major problem arises for the church and God's mission when individuals enforce this thinking on the church and congregations.
Because when people start the retirement thinking they tend to:
look at cutting back
look at reducing the risks they take
say the past was enough
begin structuring their life to make it easier and more comfortable
look for life to be more predictable life
to decrease their workload
or look at ways to achieve the above.
And if we start thinking like this in relation to our congregation such thinking will lead us to make decisions that will lead the congregation towards retirement....
(Now some congregations maybe in a geographical situation where they will die because there is no people around them....but for most this is not what God expects and it is not our calling in life as Christians.
The call of all disciples, ie. every Christian is to be active in making disciples
So what questions and thinking should we have:
Look around the community your congregation is placed within....and ask the following:
- How might we connect to this community? (or what will it take for us to connect the people in this community?)
- What might we have to do?
- What might it cost us in money, time and energy?
- How do we show them that are valuable?
- What equipping and support might we need, to fulfil the mission calling God has placed before us?
- What changes do we need to make, so we can make disciples of Jesus?
- How do the people we are called to reach, learn and feel part of community?
- How is God calling us to serve Him, by serving the community around us with His word and sacrament that helps connect to Jesus, the one who gives life?
You will notice these questions are not about slowing down, but could lead to a redirection in the way yourself and the congregation operates....
Some further reading
Luke 2:25-38...of an example of an older couple being active in their call as Jesus' disciples
Titus 2:1-5 about how older people are to teach others by example.
Psalm 71:18 says Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Joshua 24:14-15 hear what Joshua says just before he died
John Piper's e-book Rethinking retirement
Resources relating to retirement