Demographic changes and the shape of (lay) ministry

Recently at the 2007 Biennial Convention of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia, there was a fascinating paper presented on the changing nature of the workforce. The paper, titled It’s time to abolish retirement (and here’s how to do it), looks at retirement (for recreation) as being a relatively recent phenomenon. It argues that given longer life expectancy (a typical retirement can last more than 20 years) and the expected shortage of workers, that retirement (and the associated age pension) be replaced with:

  • livelong flexibility in working hours (e.g. a 4-day working week, but work for longer);

  • an ability to work pension.

This has me thinking about the implications of such a demographic change in the way we do ministry. For example:

  • There have been efforts in the past to encourage and train retired people for ministry. Given that more and more people are delaying retirement, will this strategy still work?

  • Conversely, if more people are having shorter working weeks, how can we use this opportunity for ministry?

Interesting times indeed.

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