A few years back, I shared a pertinent revelation that Retirement is not in the Bible. Today, I believe that even more deeply. I am not retired. I’m repurposed.

In the intervening year-and-a-half since I stepped away from my “day-job” of 40+ years, I’ve embraced gradually growing responsibilities with One Mission Society. My original role – and one I continue to fulfill – is Church Multiplication Facilitator. I work alongside one of our Village Church Planting supervisors who is responsible for overseeing the work of nine coordinators in five East African nations and approximately 50 training centers (each with about 15 students). My primary responsibilities are prayer support, encouragement, and some coaching during our weekly calls.

I’m not retired. I’m repurposed.

Shortly after my second CMF trip to Africa I was also asked to serve on the board of Mercy, Inc.  Mercy is a sister organization to OMS; we focus on compassion ministries which demonstrate the Gospel of Christ. Throughout last year, our Executive Director, his staff, others and I have been putting the structure in place for the Shalom Africa initiative.

I’m not retired. I’m repurposed.

While all this was unfolding, I was invited to try on another hat, and it fit! OMS has been training men and women to plant multiplying churches for about 15 years through the Village Church Planting program. We began updating our curriculum, including transitioning to discussion-based learning as opposed to lecture. For term 1 (of 8), roughly 40 lessons were created, and the lessons and study content were translated into four African languages. For the past fourteen months, I have served as Project Manager for this undertaking. This includes weekly calls and monthly status reports.

I’m not retired. I’m repurposed.

But as the infomercials say: Wait, there’s more! I was shocked (to say the least!) when I was asked to consider taking the role of Regional Director for Africa (a position that had been vacant for about a year). Last fall, I was named Associate Regional Director with plans to assume the Regional Director role later this spring.

I’m not retired. I’m repurposed.

It’s been a whirlwind yet I see the hand of God in each of these responsibilities. Over the past couple of months I’ve come to some interesting realizations in the midst of promotion and greater responsibility. Maybe some of these revelations will encourage you, too:

  • I’m in over my head in terms of both capacity and capability, but that’s a good thing. This “forces” me to lean into – and upon – the Lord.  It’s better to acknowledge my inadequacies and experience Paul’s observation that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 10:12b). Incidentally, it’s a whole lot better for me to acknowledge this than to have others point it out to me!
  • I find it ironic; back in my career days I was striving to impress and to hear plaudits. Those came sporadically and sometimes not at all. Now that I’m serving as a volunteer in missions – and not seeking recognition or advancement – I’m hearing much more praise and affirmation. What’s the difference? I believe it’s probably three things. Today, I’m more secure in who I am in Christ, so the need for others’ approval is lessened. Secondly, today I’m in a sweet spot where calling and passion intersect. For the third reason, see my first realization above.
  • During my career days, I was too often self-constrained. I was hesitant to offer my opinion or to provide critical feedback because I was concerned those things would hinder my career aspirations or cause others to not like me.  But, in 20/20 hindsight, that behavior probably hindered my career. Now that I’m serving as a volunteer, I feel much freer to share observations and opinions (in an appropriate manner). Those insights and analyses are being recognized and affirmed and have probably contributed to my new responsibilities.
  • I’ve been asked several times, “Are you busier now than before you retired?” Surprisingly, the answer is “no.” In the past, I did a lot of missions-related activities, but I had to squeeze them into the margins of my life. Now, with the support of a very good wife, I have the privilege and opportunity to put my full energy and effort into this calling and passion.
  • Leadership is hard. The higher you go in the organization, the more difficult the problems are. The easy ones are solved before they reach you. And wish as much as I may, there’s no “Easy” button for me to push. I’m dealing with some thorny, complex issues currently that are forcing me to lean into – and upon – the Lord.
  • Not all problems are mine to solve. With some I am a stakeholder but not the owner.  Wisdom and discernment are required to determine the difference. James 1:5-6 is my constant companion: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
  • Lastly, I journaled the following late last year. “We need discernment so that we act in faith and not presumption.  We need obedience to act upon what we discern.”

A year ago, I felt directed to 1 Corinthians 2:9 as my verse for the year: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

I had no clue at the time how true that verse would be. This year, my verse is Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” I don’t know what lies ahead, yet I’m confident in the One who does.

Retirement is not in the Bible. I am not retired. I’m repurposed.