Using part of your time in the service of your church will not be something new that starts when your full time work ends.

But your opportunities and the time available will change – and need to be thought through with care.

  • More time for opportunities

    In the past the pace and demands of life, including work and probably family, put limits on even the most willing. Now there’s likely to be more time at your disposal – including weekdays.

    Not that all the time you used to work is now available to volunteer in the context of your church. You need a church/life balance as much as you did a work/life balance.

    You may also have growing family pressures to take account of and without feeling guilty – grandchildren, frail parents and more.

    But there is the potential to wisely use your time, energy and abilities for and through your church in a way that was not possible before.

  • Don't get sucked into rotas

    They say there’s a similarity between a helicopter and a church – get too close and you get sucked into the rotas.

    Yet churches depend on many hours of voluntary time to do what they feel called to do. That makes rotas essential. But don’t see them as your only option.

    Your precious time can only be spent once. So before you put your name down for everything – or have it put down for you – make sure your time is being used for what you are best at.

    Think about what special help your experience and abilities equips you for. With that in mind check out Using Your Life Skills.

    And don’t be afraid to leave some space – for you and for others. A full diary is not a measure of godliness. And one of the great advantages of life after work is it can make you available to step in where something unexpected comes up.

  • Think ‘ministry’ not ‘activity'

    It is too easy to think that ‘ministry’ is about church leadership and doing spiritual things – speaking, leading worship, praying and the like. But everything done in God’s service is ministry and it is good to see it through those eyes.

    For example –

    • Are you just a Welcomer? Or someone praying inwardly for those you greet and wanting them to see something of Jesus in you?
    • Are you just a coffee server? Or someone looking out for new comers and seeking to remember names and make contacts?
    • Are you just on the crèche rota? Or are you looking out for new parents to talk to and welcome and praying for the children and families in your care?

    For sure, there will be some grunge tasks that have to be done and that you can now do. This is all part of what St Paul speaks of as to ‘serve one another with love’.

    To keep going, churches often need unglamorous tasks to be undertaken by servants. To quote St Francis of Assisi, God calls us ‘to serve and not to count cost’. Life after work offers more opportunities to do exactly that.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife