Three Ways to Be Missional in Retirement

Being in the later stages of life doesn’t mean you can’t obey the Great Commission.

From Message magazine issue "To the Ends of the Earth"

The book of Proverbs speaks of a “crown of glory” that accompanies old age and a righteous life.

Perhaps that is why many people anticipate that retirement will be one of the richest seasons of their lives. With a biblical perspective, the long-awaited respite can usher in a deep sense of peace and give you the freedom to worship and serve God in new ways.

Certainly, one isn’t finished in the Lord’s harvest just because his hands may be too weak for the plow. Here are three ways you can continue to support missions through your golden years of retirement.

1. Use Your Talents

Don’t fall into the temptation that the Lord has no use for your skills because you are no longer employed. Expertise doesn’t suddenly disappear when one steps through the door of retirement. Have a background in construction? ABWE’s Project Office has more than 70 ongoing construction projects. Are you a retired doctor or teacher? Your areas of knowledge could be repurposed to train and equip missionaries or nationals.

Whether as a second career, or a short-term volunteer, your years of training and experience can most likely be used to support those on the mission field.

2. Use Your Time

Time is a valuable thing—and maybe you have more to offer than ever before. Even without a specific skillset, a servant’s heart goes a long way. Many retirees volunteer at the ABWE International Headquarters: cooking, cleaning, gardening, and even opening mail.

Consider planning a visit to the field to encourage a missionary or sending them a care package or letter.

Prayer is arguably the best use of anyone’s time—pray that ABWE missionaries would be fruitful in proclaiming the name of Jesus around the globe. Ultimately, never take for granted the time you have been given. As long as breath remains in your lungs, you can use it to serve the Lord.

3. Use Your Giving

Being able to invest in a ministry like ABWE International, that is training leaders, planting churches, and multiplying missions movements, provides a special kind of fulfillment, especially during your “wise and wonderful” years. Current and legacy gifts to missions, through IRAs, wills, trusts, and gifts in kind, can support missions for years to come.

“When I invested a little money into my IRA, the day I might need those funds seemed a long way off. But God blessed me, and so when I reached 70 and was required to take a minimum distribution (RMD), I didn’t need the funds. So I gave my minimum distribution to ABWE,” explains ABWE Board Member and donor James Geurink.

“It’s a joy that I can use my retirement savings to support a ministry that I love and enable them to spread the gospel.”

Editor’s Note: Learn more about how to give, or explore pathways for retirees to serve as missionaries.