We all know saving for the future is wise. Experience has taught us this. Last year was a real-life lesson on the importance of being prepared financially. Many people were caught off guard and unprepared for how the pandemic would affect their livelihood. Some are still feeling the effects of it today. The lesson learned by many (and reinforced for some): it is a whole lot easier to prepare ahead and save for the future.
The Bible teaches us this as well. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
And Proverbs 24:27 says, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
These verses and many more like them make it clear it is wise to plan. This truth is important for everyday living but essential as it relates to retirement. Everyone needs to save for retirement including pastors. Through working with pastors, I have seen many different levels of preparedness. Some arrive at retirement totally unprepared. Others have saved but not enough. Still others are saving but not sure if they are saving enough. I want to encourage all pastors to start saving for retirement immediately—no matter their age—and be sure to save enough.
We do not put our hope in wealth. That is reserved for God. While we put our hope in God, we should be planning and saving for the future, for many reasons.
The Bible teaches us to save for the future. Scripture describes saving for a rainy day, preparing for the future, and putting money to work multiplying for the future. All are noted as wise things to do. Also, it is hard to teach your people about sound stewardship if you are not modeling it yourself. Pastors can lead others to save for retirement. Not only will it help their own financial future but the financial future of others as well.
Social Security will not be enough. Social Security was never meant to be the sole source for retirement income. It was intended to be a supplement. The average social security benefit for 2021 is $1,543/month or $18,516/year. With rising health care costs and inflation, this benefit will be helpful but insufficient.
We cannot earn an income forever. Many noble pastors intend to stay in the ministry forever, but it is rarely possible. Health may prevent it. Or perhaps productivity and stamina are a roadblock. You may want to work forever, but you may not find a church willing to pay for an aging minister. Saving for retirement allows pastors to prepare for the end of their paying ministry. We learn from the example of Joseph in the Old Testament. He set aside enough grain during the good years to provide for the bad years. A time is coming for all of us when our productive working years end. It is crucial to set aside income during our working years to provide for those years when our earned income ceases.
Be free to serve the Lord in many ways. Ministry does not have to end when the paycheck stops coming. At Board of Retirement, it is our mission to help people prepare for their future ministry. Retirement can be fruitful ministry years if you have prepared financially for it. By saving for retirement, you put yourself in a position to serve the Lord in new and exciting ways.
Pastor, saving for retirement is not about preparing to end your ministry. It is about preparing for new ministries and new opportunities. Planning ahead will help you prepare for the day when the paycheck stops and new horizons open. Partner with the Board of Retirement. Let us help you prepare for your future ministry.
About the Author: Chris Compton is accounting administrator for Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement. He graduated in 2007 with a M.A. in Bible exposition from Columbia International University. A 1998 graduate of East Tennessee State University, he has over 15 years of administrative/financial experience in varied fields as well as seven years of pastoral ministry experience.
This article was previously posted in the October/November 2021 edition of ONE Magazine.