Life on the Other Side of the Pulpit

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Written by David Collins

Categories: Pastors Blog

Tags: Personal Life

Comments: 0

Dear Pastors

This week I have invited David Collins to be my guest blogger. Dave was the pastor of an Independent Pentecostal Church in Hamilton for many years when I was Pastor at Hamilton Central Baptist Church. We became good friends. After quite a few years away ministering in Fiji and Auckland he and Sue are back living in Hamilton which I am thrilled about. These days he happily uses the ‘R’ word. Here are some of his reflections.

Two years ago I retired from forty five years of pastoral ministry - a New Zealander serving in Kiwi churches as a church planter and pastor associated with a pentecostal network. Through all the challenges of small and medium sized church life, I always regarded my service as a calling, counted it a privilege, and hardly gave a moment’s thought to my retirement years … then they arrived.

  • Retirement was commonsense - I was 67 and was no longer bringing the energy to ministry I had in earlier years. Time for generational change.
  • Retirement was considerate - my wife had shared the ministry with me for 43 years, often taking on roles outside her passions (smaller church life doesn’t always abound with volunteers). My laying it down was good for both of us.
  • Retirement was conviction - thankfully I had particular guidance and inner conviction; the affirmation of colleagues and of our church family; and with that, a trust that God would faithfully lead us into our future.

We built a house at the beach. Had a wonderful final few months with our church. A very honouring final service … and suddenly I no longer had responsibilities for the life of a church, to care as a shepherd, or to prepare sermons and plan services.

The first thing that stood out to me was that I was free from expectations. Anything I now did would be because I simply wanted to rather than because I had to or needed to (I have chosen three easy and enjoyable fields in which to be active).

I now look back upon just over two years “on the other side of the pulpit” and I’ve learned these four things.

  1. Beware of your “there’s no retirement in God” friends! They are mostly baby-boomer pastors who
    • (a) have their identity wrapped up in their ministry,
    • (b) feel caught in a bind over succession, or
    • (c) fear their financial ill-preparedness for retirement.
  2. My best retirement “assets” have been a strong sense of spiritual journey completely independent of the local church; and an experience 8 years before I retired where I found the “rest” of knowing my true self was “in Jesus Christ and his grace”, and not in my service of Christ through his call.
  3. Finding a new church can be difficult! There are a lot of reasons why finding a new place of fellowship is a good idea; mine was that we had moved to a new location. What I brought to this process was the innate and completely unhelpful knack of over-analysing every unsuspecting church we visited on this quest! A precarious post-occupational hazard.
    After allowing ourselves plenty of time for this exercise, we gravitated towards a faith community completely different to the churches we had been part of in the previous forty-some years: it is
    • not overtly ‘charismatic’,
    • not stage-centric,
    • more contemplative,
    • interactive,
    • with natural friendliness and
    • a refreshingly different approach to music and message.
      It certainly solved the comparative analysis problem, and actually resonated with the way we had been growing in our personal ‘Jesus journeys’.
  4. Most of my friends are my contemporaries (on both sides of the retirement line) - and they’re gold! With some I can still “talk shop”; with others, compare journey; and the rest, chat about everything else of life.
    To some of my friends these days I am a much older brother. They are younger couples faithfully doing what we had done during our working years. They seem to value the encouragement we can bring without any sense that we’re in their ‘chain of command’ (there’s a key there somewhere). And I enjoy being simply a friend.

I discovered some time ago that the meaning of life was love and relationship. There’s not a better discovery for a fantastic retirement.

Thankyou Dave! This is such a helpful piece of writing.



Coming Up…………

Let Justice Roll Down


A one day symposium convened by LeadershipWorx and Te Whānau Pūtahi to learn and discuss how we can address some of the issues of injustice. How to build a fence at the top of the cliff and reduce the ambulance work at the bottom.

Amos 5:21-24 (NKJV and NLT)
21 The Lord says: “I hate all your show and pretense - the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
23 Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 Instead, let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream”

Tickets now available.

Read more here

Sir Bill English speaking on Euthanasia in Tauranga and Hamilton. More info call Liz 021 243 2566

Where is our Speech Going?


A 90 minute briefing (including Q and A) on this vitality important subject that now confronts all New Zealanders including Pastors, Ministers, Vicars and Priests.

There is no doubt that Religious Freedom is being threatened. Speaking out publicly from a biblical perspective and worldview is becoming hazardous. Everyday Christians have already had their mouths stopped for fear of saying the wrong thing, worried about offending others and afraid of committing the terrible offense of ‘hate speech’.

Prof Paul Moon has spent a great deal of time thinking, writing and speaking about this. He will help us understand this new issue and navigate these troubled waters.

Tickets now available.

Read more here

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