On returning home last weekend we went immediately to an outdoors' tenth wedding renewal of vows with reception - an imaginative happy event (and the rain kept off...just!) The next day we drove to an Induction Service in Kettering (an hours' drive away). The preacher was my very gifted successor at Spurgeon's College - Dr. Nigel Wright - who himself retired three years ago.
He challenged the new ministry team not to 'go off the boil'. To these younger ministers he spoke about his own ministry journey which described as going through distinctive stages:
Radical - The beginning was marked by writing challenging books in a challenging ministry.
Mainstream - Becoming a founder of a renewal movement within the Baptist denomination
Establishment - Becoming Principal of Spurgeon's College and President of the Baptist Union
Old School - in early retirement as he now looks back and realizes he belongs to an older generation yet remains active
Has Been - enough said!
(Incidentally, the first three stages are written up by Andy Goodliffe in a formal academic appreciation in the latest Baptist Quarterly Journal).
I joked with Nigel afterwards about the process of discerning the transition from old school to has been! Thinking of life in terms of stages should lead to gratitude to God for life and purpose. In my own story that's true - how are you doing?