Author Topic: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?  (Read 14805 times)

Dave Likeness

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #150 on: July 02, 2019, 10:25:11 AM »
As a Circuit Counselor I observed one retired pastor who stayed in his former congregation.
He told the new pastor that  as the retired pastor he should be allowed to do funerals
because he knew the deceased members better than the new pastor.  He used the same logic
for weddings.  Needless to say, this retired pastor caused much turmoil for about 4 years.
Then he finally got the hint from his former members that he was no longer needed at his
former parish.   He finally joined a neighboring LCMS congregation in the same city.

Bottom Line:  A wise retired pastor can avoid problems by leaving his former parish immediately
 on the Sunday after his Farewell sermon.

Dave Benke

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #151 on: July 02, 2019, 10:29:32 AM »
The Central Illinois District of the LCMS has guidelines for assisting pastors in making the
transition into retirement.

1. The retiring pastor should resist the temptation to remain in the congregation after his
retirement.  The retiring pastor should leave the congregation.

2. A retiring pastor cannot be permitted to position himself as the "power behind the
throne."   This is not fair to the new pastor

3. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, counseling should be conducted by the new pastor.
The retiring pastor should not tell his former parishioners he would gladly perform
such services if the new pastor agrees.  This is manipulative and puts the new pastor
in an untenable position.

#3 is important and complex.  I received several calls to very large congregations with a long-time pastor retiring and living in the area.  The issue of weddings and funerals was always on the table.  My desire was that the family involved be honored in these important times, so since the pastor had been there and with those families for 30+ years, why wouldn't he be allowed to take some of those funerals/weddings?  I was OK with it, because it really wasn't about me or the pastoral office but about the communion of saints.

Interfering, no.  Power behind throne, no. 

But being a pastor who shepherded a family through many stops on life's journey to eternal destiny, why would I stand in the way of that?  For that reason, in some of those cases the outbound retiree could make an excellent visitation pastor - relational, building the congregation, caring for souls under the supervision of the new senior/head/sole pastor.

The more complex issue to me is whether the retiree is OK with letting go of the rest of parish life and decision-making, or wants to stick his oar in the water and beat it around.  Or, as others have said, if the retiree can't handle retirement and the different time/energy requirements, then he might make messes by accident or on purpose.

Dave Benke

D. Engebretson

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #152 on: July 02, 2019, 10:37:26 AM »
Knowing that my predecessor was here for so many decades I realized early on that he would be friends with many of the deceased.  To this credit he always referred people back to me.  I, in turn, would invite him to participate, usually taking the readings and creed.  In the vast majority of cases I always preached and he was okay with that.  I think this made the difference for me.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Wayne Kofink

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #153 on: July 02, 2019, 10:58:40 AM »


My best friend these days is my former parish worker who was widowed long before I knew her. We have a comfortable friendship. Just last Sunday I told her that the hardest thing for me right now is the sense that nobody really needs me anymore. My interim is over, my step kids are grown and quite independent, etc. I do think this feeling is born of grief, and will eventually dissolve into some new purpose. I am relearning how to lean into God’s unfailing strength and guidance. Right now, though, I feel like I am in free fall. This thread has been helpful, because I do not feel quite so isolated in some of my feelings.

Saying that I feel unneeded felt almost blasphemous. God will show me the needs.

Donna
[/quote]

Donna, trust the Lord who brought you this far. I retired four years ago. I was weary of the abuse I received from a small number of people. I was tired of cleaning floors and fixing plumbing when no one would do it. I hung on as long as I did because I was afraid to live without the vocation that had given me an identity for 39 years. I have been amazed in retirement how often people from local congregations to the bishop call on me to exercise my vocation still. To my surprise I preach frequently, I've even done Easter and Christmas services and funerals. I've know you for a long time, and I'm sure God isn't finished with you yet.

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #154 on: July 02, 2019, 11:47:23 AM »
Since retirement is coming soon (Aug 4) this is what I sent out to the members of the congregation on June 1.

Dear Members of St. John’s

If you haven't heard already, I will be retiring following the worship service on August 4, 2019.   

In the past 28 years that I have been your Pastor, we have shared many special moments. There have been those special good times: baptisms…confirmations… weddings… and other fun activities. There have also been those times of sharing sorrow, with hospital and nursing home visits and funerals of loved ones.

During the upcoming months, there will be many congregational meetings about the direction of the congregation and how the pastoral office will be filled.  Take an active part in those meetings.  Stay informed.  Stay active. The Vacancy Pastor will be Pastor Daniel Vang, from Thorp, let him now be your Pastor in the next chapter of being the family of God at St. John’s.

So, when you have need of pastoral care or services, call Pastor Vang. If your child is getting married, and I'm invited, I'll be rejoicing with you…But Pastor Vang will be the one and only to plan the wedding, counsel the kids, and perform the service.

My departure includes handing those pastoral responsibilities on to him and I want to give him a lot of space to develop his own ministry.  I want to give him every opportunity to serve you as your Vacancy Pastor.  Pray for him and his family.  Invite them to celebrations.  Make him feel welcome.  Since he probably doesn’t know the congregation’s traditions, gently inform him of them.  After all, he isn’t a mind reader.

Jean and I will still see you around the area (since we have a house in Owen) but, when we meet…don't ask us what we think about the new pastor or the latest changes and/or project(s). I'd appreciate knowing that someone is sick, and someone is graduating from college with honors and other joys and concerns within the church family. And I can answer certain questions so as to not leave everyone in the dark, BUT certain other areas are no longer my concern.  You might not see me every Sunday, what with grandkids to visit and spoil and probable supply preaching in area congregations, but, I am, far as this location is concerned, once again, part of the priesthood of believers as is every member of St. John’s.

Together, let's continue our relationship, not as Pastor of St. John’s but as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

In His Service
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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #155 on: July 02, 2019, 11:50:13 AM »
Since retirement is coming soon (Aug 4) this is what I sent out to the members of the congregation on June 1.

Dear Members of St. John’s

If you haven't heard already, I will be retiring following the worship service on August 4, 2019.   

In the past 28 years that I have been your Pastor, we have shared many special moments. There have been those special good times: baptisms…confirmations… weddings… and other fun activities. There have also been those times of sharing sorrow, with hospital and nursing home visits and funerals of loved ones.

During the upcoming months, there will be many congregational meetings about the direction of the congregation and how the pastoral office will be filled.  Take an active part in those meetings.  Stay informed.  Stay active. The Vacancy Pastor will be Pastor Daniel Vang, from Thorp, let him now be your Pastor in the next chapter of being the family of God at St. John’s.

So, when you have need of pastoral care or services, call Pastor Vang. If your child is getting married, and I'm invited, I'll be rejoicing with you…But Pastor Vang will be the one and only to plan the wedding, counsel the kids, and perform the service.

My departure includes handing those pastoral responsibilities on to him and I want to give him a lot of space to develop his own ministry.  I want to give him every opportunity to serve you as your Vacancy Pastor.  Pray for him and his family.  Invite them to celebrations.  Make him feel welcome.  Since he probably doesn’t know the congregation’s traditions, gently inform him of them.  After all, he isn’t a mind reader.

Jean and I will still see you around the area (since we have a house in Owen) but, when we meet…don't ask us what we think about the new pastor or the latest changes and/or project(s). I'd appreciate knowing that someone is sick, and someone is graduating from college with honors and other joys and concerns within the church family. And I can answer certain questions so as to not leave everyone in the dark, BUT certain other areas are no longer my concern.  You might not see me every Sunday, what with grandkids to visit and spoil and probable supply preaching in area congregations, but, I am, far as this location is concerned, once again, part of the priesthood of believers as is every member of St. John’s.

Together, let's continue our relationship, not as Pastor of St. John’s but as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

In His Service

Excellent letter!

mj4

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #156 on: July 02, 2019, 11:59:24 AM »
One of the things I notice from reading this thread is that many of you who have recently retired have the common experience of feeling disoriented and are somewhat at a loss as to what to do next. I'm sure this is quite normal though in most cases the feelings are unexpected.

I would simply and humbly offer this observation. What you describe sounds very similar to what those who experience being laid off at their jobs describe. Once you regain your footing, though, you would be in a good position to reach out to those people in your own congregation or community who are experiencing a similarly disorienting transition. Blessings to each of you.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #157 on: July 02, 2019, 12:21:11 PM »
Since retirement is coming soon (Aug 4) this is what I sent out to the members of the congregation on June 1.

Dear Members of St. John’s

If you haven't heard already, I will be retiring following the worship service on August 4, 2019.   

In the past 28 years that I have been your Pastor, we have shared many special moments. There have been those special good times: baptisms…confirmations… weddings… and other fun activities. There have also been those times of sharing sorrow, with hospital and nursing home visits and funerals of loved ones.

During the upcoming months, there will be many congregational meetings about the direction of the congregation and how the pastoral office will be filled.  Take an active part in those meetings.  Stay informed.  Stay active. The Vacancy Pastor will be Pastor Daniel Vang, from Thorp, let him now be your Pastor in the next chapter of being the family of God at St. John’s.

So, when you have need of pastoral care or services, call Pastor Vang. If your child is getting married, and I'm invited, I'll be rejoicing with you…But Pastor Vang will be the one and only to plan the wedding, counsel the kids, and perform the service.

My departure includes handing those pastoral responsibilities on to him and I want to give him a lot of space to develop his own ministry.  I want to give him every opportunity to serve you as your Vacancy Pastor.  Pray for him and his family.  Invite them to celebrations.  Make him feel welcome.  Since he probably doesn’t know the congregation’s traditions, gently inform him of them.  After all, he isn’t a mind reader.

Jean and I will still see you around the area (since we have a house in Owen) but, when we meet…don't ask us what we think about the new pastor or the latest changes and/or project(s). I'd appreciate knowing that someone is sick, and someone is graduating from college with honors and other joys and concerns within the church family. And I can answer certain questions so as to not leave everyone in the dark, BUT certain other areas are no longer my concern.  You might not see me every Sunday, what with grandkids to visit and spoil and probable supply preaching in area congregations, but, I am, far as this location is concerned, once again, part of the priesthood of believers as is every member of St. John’s.

Together, let's continue our relationship, not as Pastor of St. John’s but as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

In His Service

Nice letter. I'm sure Dwayne would approve!  ;)
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #158 on: July 02, 2019, 12:24:47 PM »
I know that everyone's gifts differ, but as I think about this whole retirement subject I can't help but wonder how one can continue to serve the church by sharing the wealth of experience and wisdom gained by years of ministry to God's people.

Are any of you engaged in writing for the wider church community?

Do any of you teach or mentor church workers in training or those newly installed?
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Richard Johnson

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #159 on: July 02, 2019, 01:07:24 PM »

When I interviewed at a congregation, the Call Committee said that the previous pastor took care of the lawn. I told them that he's not going to do it anymore. They'll have to find someone else. They did. (I don't even take care of my own lawn.)

Back in my UMC days, I moved into a parsonage with a large lawn. I was utterly astonished to learn that the previous pastor had convinced the congregation to pay his teenage sons (he had three of them) to mow the lawn. Great way to send a message about viewing the house as the personal space of the pastor and family. And great way to teach your teenagers about responsibility for taking care of your living space.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #160 on: July 02, 2019, 01:09:32 PM »
I do not believe that a retired pastor should have anything to do with the parish that pastor formerly served. Maybe you go back for a major celebration like the 75th anniversary of the parish. Otherwise, you stay away.
But in the churches I know in New Jersey, those of us who are retired are helpful to the full-time pastors, filling in for them When they are on vacation and doing other things as requested. But we do not go back to the parishes we once served.
The synod also called upon the “older guys” For discussions and workshops with the newly-ordained clergy in the synod.

I go to funerals as a worshiper, but otherwise I avoid the place like the plague.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #161 on: July 02, 2019, 01:13:11 PM »


3. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, counseling should be conducted by the new pastor.
The retiring pastor should not tell his former parishioners he would gladly perform
such services if the new pastor agrees.  This is manipulative and puts the new pastor
in an untenable position.

#3 is important and complex.  I received several calls to very large congregations with a long-time pastor retiring and living in the area.  The issue of weddings and funerals was always on the table. 
[/quote]

When I left a congregation, either for another call or for retirement, I made it very clear that I simply would not do weddings or funerals. "Invite me to the wedding as a guest if you like, but do not ask me to perform the wedding, because I will say no."
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #162 on: July 02, 2019, 01:14:30 PM »
Knowing that my predecessor was here for so many decades I realized early on that he would be friends with many of the deceased.  To this credit he always referred people back to me.  I, in turn, would invite him to participate, usually taking the readings and creed.  In the vast majority of cases I always preached and he was okay with that.  I think this made the difference for me.

A very wise strategy. At my former parish, the family asked my successor if they might ask me to take some part in the funeral of their mother, and she responded, "No, we don't do that."
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #163 on: July 02, 2019, 01:15:45 PM »
Since retirement is coming soon (Aug 4) this is what I sent out to the members of the congregation on June 1.

Dear Members of St. John’s

If you haven't heard already, I will be retiring following the worship service on August 4, 2019.   

In the past 28 years that I have been your Pastor, we have shared many special moments. There have been those special good times: baptisms…confirmations… weddings… and other fun activities. There have also been those times of sharing sorrow, with hospital and nursing home visits and funerals of loved ones.

During the upcoming months, there will be many congregational meetings about the direction of the congregation and how the pastoral office will be filled.  Take an active part in those meetings.  Stay informed.  Stay active. The Vacancy Pastor will be Pastor Daniel Vang, from Thorp, let him now be your Pastor in the next chapter of being the family of God at St. John’s.

So, when you have need of pastoral care or services, call Pastor Vang. If your child is getting married, and I'm invited, I'll be rejoicing with you…But Pastor Vang will be the one and only to plan the wedding, counsel the kids, and perform the service.

My departure includes handing those pastoral responsibilities on to him and I want to give him a lot of space to develop his own ministry.  I want to give him every opportunity to serve you as your Vacancy Pastor.  Pray for him and his family.  Invite them to celebrations.  Make him feel welcome.  Since he probably doesn’t know the congregation’s traditions, gently inform him of them.  After all, he isn’t a mind reader.

Jean and I will still see you around the area (since we have a house in Owen) but, when we meet…don't ask us what we think about the new pastor or the latest changes and/or project(s). I'd appreciate knowing that someone is sick, and someone is graduating from college with honors and other joys and concerns within the church family. And I can answer certain questions so as to not leave everyone in the dark, BUT certain other areas are no longer my concern.  You might not see me every Sunday, what with grandkids to visit and spoil and probable supply preaching in area congregations, but, I am, far as this location is concerned, once again, part of the priesthood of believers as is every member of St. John’s.

Together, let's continue our relationship, not as Pastor of St. John’s but as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

In His Service

Excellent letter!

Indeed.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: Looming Shortage of Pastors - Worse Than We Realized?
« Reply #164 on: July 02, 2019, 03:00:01 PM »
for complete coverage I must also mention that some of the before mentioned concerns can also be issues where a retired but interim-ing pastor attends a church where he or she was a recent interim....  my case....  I am walking that mine field but constantly rethinking the course lest I hurt or divert in any way the present pastor's acceptance and leadership.  Sometimes it is just a matter of being liked too much or seen (in people's view) something of a "savior" in the midst of some past trauma when all you did was act like a average, proper parish pastor would have under the same circumstances. 
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