Letters went out last week officially announcing my retirement as a Resource Minister with the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky. This is something I've considered since the first of the year and finally made the decision a couple of months ago that it was time. My retirement will be effective on December 31, 2015.
My ministry began in 1981 when I was called to be the bivocational pastor of Hebron Baptist Church near Madison, Indiana. At the time I had never heard the term "bivocational," and suddenly I was one. I served that church for twenty years until being called to my present ministry in 2001.
Over the past 34 years I've seen many changes in ministry and especially in bivocational ministry. When I began there was not the acceptance of bivocational ministry that there is now. We had few resources that had been created especially for us, and many of us felt as if our denominations had forsaken us. (I have to say that was not the case for me. I had excellent support from the leaders in the ABC/INKY.)
I wrote my first book, The Tentmaking Pastor: The Joy of Bivocational Ministry, due to the lack of resources available to us. I never dreamed it would lead to seven more books related to small church and bivocational ministry. Nor did I ever imagine I would be asked to lead workshops and conferences on the topic. This ministry God has given me has been a true blessing. Bivocational ministers are my heroes, and I've been privileged to be allowed to serve them in this way.
I will continue to minister in retirement. I've been working on two more books I plan to complete in 2016. I already have two speaking engagements scheduled for next year, one in California and the other in Indiana. If you are looking for a conference speaker for next year, please consider giving me a call. Since I love preaching so much I am hopeful to have the opportunity to fill the pulpit as often as possible.
As I've mentioned in this space before, about two years ago I started an auction business, and I will be working to build that business up in retirement. Many people have wondered why I would want to be an auctioneer, but I view it as another way to minister to people. I'll explain that in a later post.
My wife and I will celebrate our 49th anniversary later this year, and we look forward to being able to spend more time together. We also want to spend more time with our two children and seven grandchildren, none of whom live near us. It's time to make some family memories, and I am looking forward to doing that.
There's no danger of me sleeping until noon and then heading to the golf course when I retire. There are plenty of things to keep me busy, and I look forward to having the time to do them.