August 24, 2020 • Third Third Journal
Today I had a most interesting and encouraging meeting (by Zoom, of course) with Richard Bergstrom. I had known of Richard for about a year, ever since I read a book that he and his wife had written. I respected their work and was delighted when Richard reached out to me a couple of weeks ago after he watched a webinar I did on “Flourishing in the Third Third of Life” (you can check out my webinar here).
Richard and his wife, Leona, are pioneers among Christians serving people in the third third of life, having doing this sort of work for many years. They bring a wealth of wisdom and experience to this endeavor. Richard is a pastor, author, and non-profit leader. Leona is a Certified Aging Service Professional who has worked in the field of gerontology for 35 years. Together, Richard and Leona have written several books and founded Re-Ignite, a faith-based organization that helps people in the third third of life discover their distinctive calling as they seek to serve God and make a difference in the world. (You can learn more about the Bergstroms here.)
If you visit the Re-Ignite website, you’ll find lots of resources to help you live with passion and purpose in the third third of your life. I want to draw your attention especially to their book, Third Calling: What are you doing for the rest of your life?. This is the book I read a year ago. I was impressed at the time with Richard’s and Leona’s combination of biblical wisdom, knowledge of third third reality, and practical application. I sensed at the time that what the Bergstroms were doing in Third Calling was significantly in alignment with the De Pree Center’s third third initiative.
In their chapter on calling, they draw from a statement published by their alma mater, Westmont College: “There is a calling on our lives. God has called us into his Kingdom and to be participants in his work in the world. It is the on-going task of every Christian to discern the shape of that calling through the various phases of life.” Though each Christian has a singular calling to know and serve God, this calling takes on different shapes in different seasons of life. As Richard explained to me in our meeting, what they call the “third calling” could also be seen as a third shape of a person’s lifelong calling. As they say in their book, “There is a calling on our lives. God has called us into his Kingdom and to be participants in his work in the world. It is the on-going task of every Christian to discern the shape of that calling through the various phases of life.”
Third Calling will guide you through a process of discerning the shape of your calling in the third third of life. It includes chapters such as: “Knowing Your Purpose,” “Stepping Into Your Story,” and “Cultivating Your Creativity.” If you’re trying to figure out the distinctive nature of your calling in the third third of life, you’ll find lots of wisdom in Third Calling. I commend this book to you, as well as the resources at Re-Ignite. I’m grateful for the wisdom and experience that the Bergstroms are bringing to their work with third third folk, and for the encouragement they have given to us at the De Pree Center.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.