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Is Your Ministry Ready for the Retirement Revolution?
The oldest Baby Boomers–those born in 1946–starting turning 57 during 2003. It is clearly time for many Boomers to begin retirement planning. In fact, news media have already been carrying human interest stories about Boomers who have retired early.

This demographic reality is clearly driving much of the current concern about investments and Social Security. Yet, experts on aging say that while money is important, it's not the most important ingredient for a successful retirement.

"I've read that you need 80 percent of your (pre-retirement) income to live comfortably after you retire. That's a lot of baloney," a copyrighted AP story quotes Annie Gullion, a 72-year-old retired social worker in New York City. "You have to know you can cover your basics, with some left over for fun."

Ralph Warner, author of Get a Life: You Don't Need a Million to Retire Well, believes that all the talk about the high cost of retirement has scared Americans. "I am not advocating that people plan to live the rest of their lives just on Social Security," he writes. "I'm saying, put money in perspective. Successful retirees are excited about things and have reasons to get up in the morning."

Warner’s book includes interviews with retirees and is designed to give people in their 40s and 50s some ideas  about preparing for life after work. "You have to learn to live your life," he told AP. "If you don't take pre-retirement steps to help ensure you'll have a healthy, active, friend-filled and interesting retirement, no amount of money will buy those things later."

What is the church doing to help people prepare for retirement? Are we casting a vision that says that retirement is a gift from God which He intends to be used to His glory? For example, retiring Baby Boomers have the opportunity of pushing Christ’s mission into new frontiers which the institutionalized church structure cannot find the resources to touch.

New congregations and local ministries can be planted in unreached communities by retirees freed to live in areas that might not have been feasible while they were still tied to a career. Retiring pastors are freed to start ministries that the denomination could not fund.

We face the prospect of the largest number of people in the history of America planning for and entering into retirement over the next two or three decades. Is the church developing a theological base for the stewardship of retirement?

Trend Analysis Report ( 2003) - Sources: Associated Press, Dec 10, 2002; Warner's web site: www.nolo.com