Advice to Retired Pastors


Today’s article is titled Advice to Retired Pastors and Their Relationship to the New Pastors in Their Former Congregations by Rev. Fred C. Jacobi.

While you and I might not agree totally with these suggestions, they are worthy of consideration. I also understand that some pastors are easier to follow than others and that some succession plans simply don’t work as well as intended. Here we go:

  1. Stay away from the parish at least six months to a year, allowing the new man to “settle in.”
  2. Don’t attend Church Council or Voters Meetings. That’s the reason you retired!
  3. Refer all weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc. to the new pastor. The worst thing that can happen is for him to know you did something behind his back.
  4. If you attend a Bible Class he is conducting, keep a low profile.
  5. Treat him as your Pastor.
  6. Do not criticize him behind his back. You may think you have said something in confidence, but most often he will hear about it. He will obviously have some faults, but so did you!
  7. Do something that advances the ministry. Help with shut-in calls or become a Stephen minister.
  8. Treat him with respect.
  9. Let the vision and new ideas come from him and the church leadership – not from you.
  10. Feel free to help out with leading worship at other churches.
  11. If the new man feels uncomfortable with anything you are doing, back off!
  12. Sit down with him and assess your relationship from time to time.
  13. Allow him to do spiritual advising as much as possible.
  14. Keep him and his family in your prayers.
  15. Remember that each new pastor builds on the work of former pastors. Don’t allow members to extol their favorite pastor to the detriment of others.
  16. Enjoy your former congregation members, but remember they are friends, not your parishioners!
  17. Do everything possible to make the transition a smooth one.
  18. Go along with his new ideas about worship and ministry. Variety is the spice of life.
  19. Don’t talk about the way you used to do things.
  20. Do everything with a humble spirit.

Another Move

House 1Not long ago Terry and I counted the number of times we’ve moved since our marriage on January 29, 1966, which was also my 23rd birthday. But I digress. The number we counted at that time was 15. Earlier this week, that number climbed to 16.

A few of our close friends and colleagues knew before the move occurred. We didn’t know exactly where we were going to end up, so we spoke in general terms to them and many others who had heard the rumor. To all who inquired we emphasized the primary reason for this move—to eliminate the beautiful but rapidly becoming onerous winding stairway with 18 steps.

Terry and I considered the reality that someday I might not be able to climb those steps to get to my study. In addition, many of the folks who come to our home for an overnight stay are close to or even beyond my age. That generates concerns for their stairway safety and, in some cases, creates impenetrable barriers to their access to our guest rooms, all upstairs.

Of course, we have liability insurance, which we hope will never be used. Oh, one more thing— I’m often the one who ends up carrying our guests’ 40-pound luggage up and down the stairs, which is always happily done, yet somewhat cumbersome, to say the least!

Not yet having succeeded in finding a home that meets our needs, we are temporarily ensconced in a very nice, significantly smaller, fairly new, single story rental home, awaiting clarity on move #17. We anticipate that will occur next spring.

Those who have moved recently enough to remember can testify that the process is always interesting, sometimes traumatic, often exciting. This move for us, and the one to follow, is a strange mixture of all these emotions. Perhaps I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, tiring and testing though it has been, this move, like most of the others, has generated within us a strange sense of calling. That includes the clear hand of God in the selling of our previous home and the purchase of the new one yet to come. We’re excited to see how it all turns out, clearly convinced that home is where the heart is and where God is honored!

Commencement Time Again

Graduation 1Almost exactly one year ago I wrote a Perspectives article titled Commencement Reflections. That article noted the high school graduation of our dear grandson, Kolby Keith. It’s that time of year again, today’s article observing the commencement of Kolby’s sister, Kayla Keith.

Our Kayla is a very special young lady! Naturally, I say that as a humbly proud grandfather. Like all grandfathers, I think my grandchildren are the smartest, prettiest and handsomest young people in the world. Terry wholeheartedly, emphatically and unreservedly agrees!

However, like most grandfathers and grandmothers, we discovered a long time ago that our grandchildren are not without original sin! I imagine some of you are still struggling with that question. To those who are, I respectfully suggest you get a grip on reality and just deal with it!

Seriously, Kayla has demonstrated a remarkable degree of maturity for a young lady a couple months shy of 18 years of age. Before a shoulder injury slowed her down, she was a very good high school fast pitch softball player. She alternated between first base and the pitcher’s mound, excelling at both positions.

This past year she divided her extracurricular time and attention between part time work at a local sporting goods store and umpiring for young girls’ softball games. She’s a hoot behind the plate!

Parents and coaches at her games have come to respect her fairness, accuracy and demeanor. They also know she can be pushed just so far before letting her critics know how thin the line is between disagreement with the ump’s decisions and being ejected from the game!

In the meantime, Kayla has also maintained excellent scholastic achievement. In a couple months she’ll be heading to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, leaving Mother Angie and Father Todd as empty nesters. It’s hard for them, and for us, to believe their little girl is now a young woman ready to leave home, eager to discover what the Lord has in store.

Many of you have already had the experience of seeing children leave home. Many others face it in the years ahead. We humans look to the future with a strange mixture of uncertainty and anxiety, comingled with a dose of hope and confidence. The former emotions emanate from care and concern for loved ones, with an occasional dash of questionable faith in God’s providence. The latter are the products of God’s grace and promise.

Dear Kayla, your Mom and Dad, your brother Kolby, your Mimi and Peeps commend you to our gracious God’s care and keeping. We’re very proud of you! We love you with all our hearts!

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!