Halftimers: Pastors tapping new resource in Boomers

SAN ANTONIO?A new social phenomenon is offering up a generation of potential leaders in the local church, but most pastors don’t know about it. Comprising one-third of the nation’s population, Baby Boomers are reaching mid-life and some desire to spend retirement influencing their communities for Christ.

To aid pastors in identifying and training these seasoned marketplace leaders for ministry, LifeWay Christian Resources has partnered with the Leadership Network to create a series of ministry resources called “Success to Significance.”

“People now have two lives?life one and life two,” said Lloyd Reeb, retired real estate executive, during a Success to Significance workshop luncheon held at Oakhills Church in San Antonio Feb. 1.

With Baby Boomers retiring earlier and the average lifespan lengthening, Reeb said churches need to teach marketplace leaders how to live a life of significance for God’s kingdom.

“We are over-prepared for life one and under-prepared for life two. There is no university for the second half of life,” he said.

With the twin goals of mobilizing retired business leaders and training local pastors to utilize these church members as ministry developers, Reeb teamed up with Bill Wellons, founding pastor of Fellowship Church in Little Rock, Ark., to write “Unlimited Partnership: Igniting a Marketplace Leader’s Journey to Significance.”

“Every day 8,000 people turn 60 years old,” said Wellons, citing a recent census report. “That means all of those people are going from life one and facing life two and they are absolutely not clear on how to manage those 20 or 30 bonus years.”

Using the term made popular by author Bob Buford, Reeb and Wellons refer to those who have reached mid-life or retirement as “halftimers,” noting that most have garnered career success but still desire to make an eternal impact in God’s kingdom.

“There’s an incredible phenomenon happening in our culture that is unprecedented that provides equally profound opportunities as pastors and ministry leaders,” Reeb said. “What’s new is that a growing number of people have reached a point in life where they have a choice how they spend the rest of their life?mid-life.”

Seasoned leadership skills and a strong Christian walk qualify them to be the church’s most valuable untapped resource.

“This is the healthiest, wealthiest, best-educated generation to reach mid-life,” Reeb said. “One day they look up from their desk and realize they want their life to count for something more. Yet, they are ? wondering how could God use me as a real estate agent, attorney, teacher, or dentist?

“This is really a brand new phenomenon that didn’t exist before. So we as ministers must figure out how to move with this wave of people [and] tap into it,” Reeb said.

Speaking from experience, Reeb found himself searching for greater personal significance after building a successful real estate career. In 1992, Reeb decided to offer his services honed in competitive corporate America to 40 national ministries.

“I said, ‘Here is my education and background. How can you use me?'” Reeb recounted. “I got the most pathetic responses back. I got lots of letters, no phone calls except one, and the closest I got was a carpentry offer from one of our mission boards. There was no market for me. No ideas of my skill sets and how to use those skills. That is why we need this dialogue today.”

After discovering an unfilled niche in the ministry market, Reeb said he also noticed a need for workers in his home church, Mecklenburg Community Church near Charlotte, N.C.

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