Last year, the fairly recent retirees in Gerry and Shirley Malnis’s church small group realized they were all asking similar questions: “Where do we fit now that we are retired? What is our purpose? What is our work?” This prompted them to look for small group material that addressed these questions and would bring vision and purpose to their retirement years. Their search eventually led them to ReFrame.
Their group included a retired school teacher, physician, engineer, social worker, nurse, businessman, and pharmacist. Despite this diversity, they found themselves in a common place of needing to “reframe” their remaining years. While Gerry never truly believed in retirement, he states that the ReFrame curriculum reinforced and affirmed for the entire group, “we still have much work to do!”
For many in the group, the idea that their everyday work—whether parenting, teaching, caregiving, or running a business—was a key part of God’s mission in the world was a new idea. They completed the course with vision and excitement for reimagining their retirement years, but there was also a prevailing sense of wishing that they’d had a larger understanding of the gospel earlier in life—they wished they had had the confidence that God cared about the whole of their life’s work. This regret prompted them to start asking, “how do we share what we’ve learned with the next generation? How do we encourage those in the midst of trying to balance work and family life with a vision that their ordinary lives are a critical part of the mission of God?”
An opportunity to pass on what they had learned presented itself as Gerry was sharing about their group’s experience of ReFrame with a young adult on the Missions team at their church. His story connected with the questions she was wrestling with and she asked if he would consider running the course and include their young adults group.
This coming fall, the Malnis’ small group will be hosting ReFrame at their church for all who want to attend, including young adults. Hosting ReFrame will provide an opportunity for dialogue and mentorship with people wrestling with questions of purpose, vocation, and identity no matter what their season of life.
Gerry reflects, “ReFrame has lit a fire in a group that thought it was going to be put out to pasture. Not only have we been profoundly encouraged that none of our work has been wasted, and that our lives are not over yet, we’ve realized we may have something really valuable to give the next generation.”
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