A few years ago, my friend Karl Teichert gave me a book called Starting Well. It describes how to build a strong foundation for a lifetime of ministry.
The book begins with this remarkable observation:
Few leaders in Christian ministry finish well!
It’s my desire as God leads me to the final days of ministry as the lead pastor of Lake Hills that I will finish well. A few years ago, Dr. Bobby Clinton, a professor of leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, did a comparative study of leaders in the Bible. Of the 100 prominent leaders, he discovered they faced one of four possible finishes – 1) cut off early (Samson, Josiah, John the Baptist), 2) finished poorly (Gideon, Saul, Solomon), 3) finished so-so (David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah), or 4) finished well (Abraham, Job, Joshua). He discovered that only about 30% of the leaders you read about in Scripture finished well
I really believe that it’s possible to finish well. And that with God’s help, every one of us can finish well. And although I am finishing my ministry at Lake Hills this month, I realize that I have so many more years of ministry ahead of me. I don’t just want to finish well this month, but I want to finish well when I reach the end of my days here on earth. I want to hear the Lord say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Mt 25)
Don’t you want to hear those words
What does it really take to FINISH WELL? Here are six characteristics from Dr. Clinton of those who finished well in Scripture. I think they are great areas for each of us to pursue as we seek to follow Christ!
1. Relationship with God – we need to maintain a personal vibrant relationship with God right up to the end of our lives. This is measured by intimacy, obedience and faithfulness
2. A Learning Posture – we need to learn from a variety of sources and people and be a student of life.
3. Christ-like Character – our lives need to be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).
4. Maintain Convictions and Beliefs – we need to live based on the truth that God has revealed to us, making decisions based on our beliefs and convictions
5. Accomplish God’s Purposes – we need to stay focused on making a God honoring contribution with our life
6. Fulfilled their sense of Destiny – we need a growing awareness that we are moving towards accomplishing the things that God has laid out for us.
As my ministry as the pastor of Lake Hills Church comes to an end, I’ve worked hard to lead our church family to accomplish God’s purpose for us here in Castaic. My vision for Lake Hills was to start a church that would be committed to reach our community for Jesus Christ. I trust that we will remain committed to that vision.
Although God has a new direction for my life and ministry and He has a new pastor to cast the vision and lead our church family, don’t lose sight of the vision to reach every man, woman and child in Castaic with the message of Christ’s love. It is an unfinished task! Keep pressing on! Don’t get distracted. Keep your relationship with God strong! Keep learning and growing as you relate to lost people. Keep developing a godly character! Keep focused on finishing the task! Finish well
Our family loves this church! Being part of the Lake Hills family has brought us so much joy! As we follow God’s leading, I want to strongly encourage you to remain committed to Lake Hills. Keep on loving one another, serving one another, caring for one another, worshipping together – just as you’ve been doing!
We are so grateful to God for allowing us to begin this church in Castaic, and to see it grow and expand, and to see so many lives that have been transformed. That’s what really matters – lives that are transformed by God’s grace. I look forward to all that God will accomplish through Lake Hills Church in the years ahead.