On January 1, 2009, I began my “official” retirement. As I look back over the two years, I sometimes wonder how “retired” I am. Cecil Sherman once said, “Don’t retire FROM something; retire TO something.” Perhaps I have taken that too literally!
Actually, I am very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. Molly Marshall and Robert Johnson at Central Baptist Theological Seminary asked me to continue my role as director of the Central Seminary center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I have enjoyed working with adjunct faculty and students there as well as the opportunity to teach several courses, including one online. Time with Shawnee staff and faculty has been limited but stimulating. Our work in Murfreesboro has been affirmed by the Association of Theological Schools, and we continue to seek to fulfill certification requirements by the State of Tennessee. Terry Hamrick at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Terry Maples at Tennessee CBF, and Michael Smith and Phil Potratz at First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, have come alongside as supportive partners. We have graduated four students with the Master of Divinity degree and two more will finish this year.
I have enjoyed my work with Pinnacle Leadership Associates, primarily in the area of clergy coaching. Mark Tidsworth and my colleagues at Pinnacle are great encouragers, and I continue to learn from them as well as the 12 people I have coached in the past two years. I have also been involved in formal training as a life coach with Chris McCluskey, Judy Santos (who passed away in 2010), and Gary Wood. If one chooses to pursue a coaching ministry, I heartily recommend this type of training. Even if you have inherent gifts for coaching, instruction along with dialogue and evaluation can only strengthen those skills.
One of the things that I has given me satisfaction is my blog. Part personal journal, part commentary on things of interest to me, and part resource for those who read it, Barnabas File has been a good discipline and a rewarding outlet for me. I am often surprised to learn who is reading it and always welcome the feedback offered. I appreciate EthicsDaily.com picking up some of my "stuff" from time to time.
I have also benefited from my involvement as a board member with the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee. Like most non-profits, PCCT has struggled this year, especially with the Nashville floods and the downturn in the economy. Chrissa Walsh and Chris O’Rear, as well as board chair John Brandon, have provided good leadership during tough times. This is an important ministry that fills a neglected niche.
Most of all, I love the time with family, especially Rita and our grandchildren (and great grandchildren). Watching children learn and grow is always exciting. Time spent with them is often exhausting, but it is never wasted! Rita and I have been able to travel some and spend special times with family and friends.
So, my friend, don’t worry about whether I have enough to do in retirement. I do and I enjoy it!