Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary J. Bredfeldt


Impact of Retired Pastors on Ministry, Retired Senior Pastor, Lived Experience, Interview, Rich Data, Themes, Explore, Perceived Impact, Ministry


Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of retired senior pastors’ (RSPs) involvement in ministry following retirement. The study sought to understanding the perceived impact of RSPs on the ministry of American evangelical Protestant church of RSPs after retirement. The rationale behind the research was the phenomenon that a significant portion of the cohort of retired senior pastors continue to serve in ministry after they have retired. The study heard and analyzed first-hand data from RSPs who had lived experience in ministry after leaving the local church they led and RSPs who had lived experience in ministry while remaining at the local church they led following retirement. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was chosen as the qualitative design for this research since it considers how the participants make sense of lived experiences. A sample size of 10 participants, purposively selected from qualified candidates, provided sufficient data to answer the research questions. The analysis resulted in five dominant themes and two subthemes which were the results of categorizing the data around the questions. The two subthemes were beneficial in interpreting reasons for RSPs continued involvement in ministry. The research findings revealed convincing evidence that RSPs influence the American evangelical Protestant church. The research contributed to a scarcely populated literature base on RSPs continuing involvement in ministry.