About four years ago, a pastor friend in his 70s approached Bob Page in anger and near despair. He had never paid into Social Security, and the churches he pastored had never paid into a retirement plan like FCMM.
“He was having to bounce from one struggling church to another just to find a salary to support him and his wife,” Bob says. “He was angry at the churches that hadn’t supported him by paying into FCMM.”
Bob’s heart sunk, knowing that his friend could have been paying into the retirement plan himself, if only the future hadn’t seemed so far away.
If only. . . . That regret too often lies at the core of discussions regarding retirement.
For Bob, though, his own retirement has unfolded as an unexpected blessing—due to decades of investment in FCMM, starting with his very first congregation.
Bob was 30 at the time, already a family man. From the 5-percent investment of that church, to others along the way who contributed something, Bob and his first wife, Linda, saw their retirement fund grow. “If the church doesn’t pay into it, the pastor himself has to have the discipline to do it,” he says. “I don’t know that we ever had a church put the full 10 percent in that is recommended. So we always made sure that we put in the rest.
“But it was hard on a pastor’s salary. There was one two- or three-year period where we didn’t pay in because we were buying a house. But thank God we got back to the discipline. And that’s paid off big time for me.
“Now that I’m retired, I serve part-time with Live Oaks Community Church, which is experiencing rapid growth. My annuity from FCMM, together with my Social Security, has given me the flexibility to serve our Lord with a modest salary. It gives me incredible freedom and allows our church to have strong staffing with minimal cost.”
Although he lost Linda to cancer in 2009, Bob and his new wife, Vickie, are thriving in life and ministry in The Villages. Their church’s motto in its surrounding 55-plus community is, Play hard, pray hard, finish well.
“We teach our people that whatever activity you’re involved in, you look at it not as the end, but as the means for the mission, the means for building authentic relationships. That’s how we finish well.”
An apt motto for this not-so-retired pastor. “I still have other funds in FCMM that I have yet to touch, if my rather fixed income needs a transfusion later on,” Bob adds, “should the Lord give us many more years to serve Him.
“Each month when that FCMM deposit appears in my checking account, it is a marvel of God’s blessing to me, for which I am hugely grateful.”