This past weekend, our church experienced a powerful moment as we challenged those who are entering, or in, the fourth quarter of their lives (60 – 80) to make their greatest impact for the kingdom in their retirement.
If you missed it, you can find that sermon here.
We live in a culture that encourages those in the fourth quarter to focus on fun and frivolity, distracting them from the opportunity to finish their race strong. At the end of the service, we had our fourth-quarter brothers and sisters come to the front and kneel at the altar while others laid hands on them, praying that they would make their greatest impact for the kingdom in their final years. It was a powerful moment as retired men and women in our church prayed and considered the ways that God may have them leverage their lives through service and sacrifice in this unique season.
An area in great need of our brothers and sisters in their fourth quarter is international missions. Currently, the International Mission Board states that retirees are the most “sendable.”
Currently, the International Mission Board states that retirees are the most “sendable” demographic in the church.
Retirees have the freedom, flexibility, wisdom, and influence to make a massive impact among the nations. When you look at our current mission force, it is made up of primarily young singles and young families. In fact, one of the largest demographics serving on the mission field right now are single women. Yet, when you consider where the majority of the world’s unreached people groups are, they live in cultures with a high value on age, where men in their 50’s and above make most of the decisions facing family and culture. While we thank God for every courageous family and single who go to the mission field, what if our mission force is missing a demographic with the potential to make massive kingdom impact? Consider an example: A young missionary in a Muslim context meets a young person in that
culture who decides to give their life to Jesus. Praise God! However, there is now the likelihood that this new believer will undergo persecution and do so while isolated. Now consider a missionary couple in their retirement years who meet same-generation friends who are culturally the primary decision-makers of an entire family. Upon coming to faith in Jesus, this couple then decides they are going to lead their family to follow Jesus. While persecution is still a possibility, they undergo it not isolated but together and can withstand whatever comes against them.
The influence, age, and years of life and ministry experience that is lacking in much of our missions force is exactly what retirees have in their favor. Again, this is not to downplay the impact that the younger couple or single can have, but it is to highlight the level of influence men and women of retirement age carry into these communities. If you find yourself in the fourth quarter, consider some other ways your experience can play a massive role on the mission field:
- Many say that team conflict is the primary reason people leave the mission field. Your wisdom and experience can counsel missionary teams through difficult times, grow them in maturity, and help encourage them to persevere.
- Many young missionary children don’t have their grandparents nearby. You can be grandparents to young children who need that influence more regularly than their biological grandparents can offer it.
- You possess years of leadership experience and influence with which you can offer counsel to local pastors and local believers.
As you consider ways to leverage your final years for your greatest impact, it is our prayer that you will consider doing it among the nations and make a kingdom impact “far more abundant than you ask or think.”.