Recently someone inquired how I have enjoyed retirement. Apparently, they don’t read ThePreachersWord. Or else they define “retirement” differently than I do.
While in May of 2018 we stepped away from full-time, located church work, we immediately began a different type of ministry. We spent the next 33 months traveling full-time. Our journeys took us to 36 states. 10 countries. And 48 congregations. Preaching almost every Sunday somewhere.
In February of this year, we bought a house in Beverly Hills, Florida, in Citrus County, which is about 25 miles southwest of Ocala. We’ve been worshiping with the West Citrus Church in Crystal River, where I preach most Sundays when we’re home. Currently, I’m teaching both the Wednesday night and Sunday morning Bible class.
I have preached at West Citrus 30 Sundays this year. Our travel has slowed down. We’ve only been to 9 states. But have preached either in gospel meetings, on special lecture programs, or just on an appointment basis for 12 different churches this year and visited 15 congregations.
One of the blessings of having a more open schedule and not being tied down to one congregation is answering requests to hold a meeting or fill the pulpit for a church needing a preacher on short notice. That would not have been possible during the days of full-time church work.
We have continued our daily devotional blog, ThePreachersWord, which has been read in over 200 countries and territories around the world. In fact, today marks 10 full years of blogging. WordPress records we’ve published 362 posts this year. And written 181,270 words. That’s the equivalent of three 200 page books. “How do you write that much?” I’m often asked. Simple. One day at a time. One post at a time.
2021 has blessed us with more time with our family, especially our four grandchildren, Roy, Fern, Miles, and Katherine. The boys turned 7 in September/October, and are in the first grade. The girls turned 4 in April/May and both attend Pre-K. I’m reminded most Sundays that ministry takes different forms, as little Miles proudly shows me his fill-in-the-blank sermon notes.
Two weeks ago I preached a sermon, “Six Surprises About Christmas.” On the way to their home, I asked Miles and Katherine, if anything surprised them from my lesson. Quickly Miles spoke up and exclaimed, “Yes! I was surprised about almost everything.” It’s our prayer that the seed sown in the hearts of little children, will germinate and bear fruit in years to come.
I feel that 2021 has been something of a transition year between traveling full-time and the rigors of full-time local church work. Right now, we have the stability of worshiping with and preaching for a church in our community, but also the flexibility to travel, as well as hold meetings and minister where doors of opportunity open to us.
The Lord has provided for us, kept us safe during our travels and through the current pandemic, and blessed us far beyond what we deserve. We are thankful.
As we peek into the new year, we see several opportunities ahead. We’re hopeful we can return to see our Canadian brethren this summer. And look forward to preaching appointments in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area, Texas, West Virginia, Colorado, Tennessee, and Ohio.
I suppose, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated.
We’re thankful for the support of our readers. For your encouragement. Your kind words. And for the opportunities you’ve afforded for us to serve.
Finally, the travels, blogging, and this ministry would not be possible without the support and encouragement of my sweet, loving wife, Norma Jean.
May God richly bless you all as we embark on a new year.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman