How Are You Planning to Move, Retire, and Die?

Interim Ministry Workshop, Tuesday-Thursday March 14–16, 2023, Heritage Christian University, Florence, Alabama

What would Jesus Do?

A good guess of what Jesus would do is what Jesus did. One of many things Jesus did well was to prepare His followers for the disappointment of His death.

At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus started telling them about the end of his earthly life.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised (Matthew 16:21, ESV).

He repeated that message again and again. Matthew 20: 17-19; Mark 9:30-32; Luke 9:43-45; Luke 22:21-23

He taught and trained them to follow Him when He was no longer present.

He promised to send Someone to help. John 14:16, 17; John 15:26

We won’t live on this earth for one hundred more years with our families and brethren. It would be helpful to prepare them for our departure (moving, becoming disabled, retiring, dying).

Preparing Those We Leave for Our Departure

  1. Talk about it. Jesus announced His departure at Caesarea Philippi. He kept telling the truth even though the apostles didn’t want to hear it. They had a fuss each time he brought it up.
  2. Give people time to resist and deny you’re leaving. Denial is one of the first stages of grief.
  3. Make preparations for your departure. Making a will, planning your funeral, and setting your tombstone are three concrete (marble) things you can do to let your family know you know you’re not eternal. Buying a Tombstone…
  4. Train people to take your place. Two weeks before appointing elders is too late for the first leadership training class. Paul wrote Timothy to continue the process: “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
  5. Repeat the reality over and over as Jesus did. Peter kept repeating he was going to repeat important principles so that after he died, they would remember what was important. 2 Peter 1:12-25; 3:1
  6. When possible, do a good job of your Goodbye Ceremony. Acts 20:17-38

Five Acts of Dying

I have made this a model of leaving any relationship. This prevents Leadership Suicide.

  1. Forgive me.
  2. I forgive you.
  3. Thank you.
  4. I love you.
  5. Goodbye.

How are you preparing those close to you to continue after you leave? How have you seen others do this?

Interim Ministry Workshop, Tuesday-Thursday March 14–16, 2023, Heritage Christian University, Florence, Alabama

(Visited 332 times, 332 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

11 Responses to “How Are You Planning to Move, Retire, and Die?

  • Excellent thoughts as usual, Jerrie!

  • Thanks Jerrie always great thoughts

  • Oh brother Jerrie!!! I’m in the middle of leaving. One day it is scary, the next day leaving is a pleasant thought. Part of me says I’ve done good in preparing all around me that I am leaving. We have talked about it, set timetables, set the date, evaluated the plus and minus of my departure. Lately, I have this feeling that I have worked hard to prepare others for my leaving, and I really haven’t personally prepared myself for the change I will face. I am working on that dreaded feel of entering a new phase of life including a new identity. Your past writings have me convinced of the necessity of saying goodbye gracefully and I will. But the emotion of it all overwhelms sometimes. This article is timely for me and reminds me of things I know intellectually, but have trouble practicing emotionally. I know you didn’t write this article just for me. But you did! I say thanks, ouch, and Amen!

    • Jeff,

      Thank you for sharing the difficulty of leaving.

      You have been thinking, planning, and praying for this for some time. Even with the preparation, death and funerals are sad and difficult. I have admired your honesty and preparation through the whole process.

  • Thoughtful article, Jerrie. Every elder should train faithful men to become elders as soon after their appointment as possible. Preparing to die is not a morbid part of the Christian’s life (2 Cor 5:2).

    • Good observations.

      Do you know of someone who is doing a good job of this? How is that being done?

      • Jerrie – Because I see so little attention paid to this process, I decided, during the pandemic, to start writing a book on the eldership. Because of my extensive background in executive management and executive coaching, I am placing my experiences against the sacred Word of God, and hopefully publish early next year. The book is titled, Set in Order the Things That are Lacking. This is obviously from Titus 1:5 in the NKJV. I have the manuscript out to 5 Gospel preachers for review now. I am not a preacher, but have served in two congregations as an elder. God willing, we will get this book published.
        Specific to your question, I developed a leadership maturity curve as an answer to an elder friend of mine who asked a similar question. How do we know how the sheep are doing? Of course, we have to know how we are doing first. Simple, but not easy.
        I always enjoy your blog but rarely comment. I will try to be more responsive to your efforts and comments in the future.
        I conduct my coaching business on LinkedIn.
        http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougthecoach
        Doug Pell

        • Doug,

          Thank you for reading and responding.

          Please let me know when your book is released. I look forward to reading it.

          • Will do. You will be on my lengthening list to receive free copies. Give me your mailing address. I am in Edmond, OK.

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