“I press on toward the goal for the prize

of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14

After having served in parish ministry for almost 40 years it’s time for me to start asking the question, what’s next? What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life? What are my Next Callings?

KINDLE Next Callings is a new KINDLE program that is all about discovering “what’s next” in life after we retire from our present job or role. This past September a group of Next Callings individuals met at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois to explore what God is up to in their lives. Some members in this group have already retired, some will be reaching that point soon, and others are still a number of years away. But all came away with the same thought: It is good to have a process that helps us explore how God wants to use us in our retirement years.

Through the instruction of Paul Wendt (Dean), Jill Hasstedt (Associate Dean), and Bill Johnson (Instructor), those of us participating in the 2023 Next Callings event gathered information and ideas on what our present callings are all about and how we can continue to use our gifts to serve our Lord even after we decide to hang up our present “tool belts.” The event provided many opportunities for worship and meditation with Scott Rauch (Chaplain).

The Next Callings training experience gave us the opportunity to “press on towards the goal” with a plan and a purpose for what is yet to come. 

I have the privilege of serving as a coach for four incredible individuals (Pictured above: Carl Eliason, Tim Rippstein, Myron, Carolyn Hackman, and Gail Black) who make up our Next Callings Circle. Jim Lohman is a Circle Coach for the other KINDLE Circle who attended.

As a Circle, we will have the opportunity to support each other over the next eight months and explore how we can pass on the Next Callings information to members in our congregations who are asking the same retirement questions.

In addition, we will also share how we see God getting us ready for our own future opportunities and adventures. Even though I’m not planning to retire for another 10 years or so, this process is already helping me see how God is at work shaping my future endeavors.

If you have already retired, are nearing retirement, or won’t see that day coming for another 5 to 10 years or more, it’s not too soon to consider the possibility of getting involved in a Next Callings event. This experience has been a blessing for those who attended and can give you a chance to take a look at how God might be preparing you for your own Next Callings.

Myron Harms

Messiah Lutheran Church

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2023 KINDLE Next Callings Circle Coach

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