Thom S. Rainer on Five Trends of Retiring Baby Boomer Pastors

On January 1, 2011, 100,000 Baby Boomers reached age 65. Every day since then, another 100,000 Boomers turn 65. Many of them retire at that age or shortly thereafter.

That’s a lot of retired Boomers. Among them are a lot of retiring pastors.

So, we recently asked a number of retired or retiring Boomer pastors what they planned to do in their next stage of life. We received five common responses among them:

  1. Boomer pastors are not retiring from vocational ministry. We received that message loud and clear. No Boomer with whom we spoke was planning a life of travel and rocking chairs exclusively. These pastors had definitive ideas, some concrete plans, about what they would do next.
  2. The most common path was to become an interim pastor. Slightly under half of the respondents had this ministry as a clear path. Many of them had interim pastorates waiting on them when they retired. One pastor who retired six years ago has already served in seven interim roles, almost without a break.
  3. Some Boomer pastors will serve on church staff in a different role. Most of them chose not to serve at the church from where they were retiring. But it was not unusual for some of them to return to a church they served in earlier years, this time doing ministry in a part-time or full-time staff role. We are also watching a growing trend among retiring pastors to serve in church revitalization and replanting roles.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer