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5 Steps to Finish Well

Finish Well

    How you live your life is very important but how you finish is even more important.  Many enter the race but over time because of many challenges they get out of the race.  Most will not remember how you started the race but they will remember how you finish.  In a study by J. Robert Clinton he concluded that less than a third of historical and contemporary leaders finished strong.  Using that as our measuring stick it indicates that two out of three leaders in the ministry will not finish strong.  They will get out of the race because of things like discouragement, greener pastures, or sin in their lives.

     How do you finish well?  J. Robert Clinton offers five factors through his studies that are necessary for a leader to finish strong.  Today we will focus on the last of the five which is “Mentoring.”  Dynamic Church Planting International defines a mentor as, “someone who has been where I want to go and is willing to help me get there.”  It is the concept of having a Paul in your life, a father in the ministry, someone who will keep you focused on being faithful, fruitful, and finishing well. 

First, build close relationships!

     Clinton writes the following about mentorship; “Relationships are vital to life.  One who finishes well has recognized that such a feat does not come about through going it alone.  Leaders who finish well mentor others and are also mentored.  They do not restrict themselves to a single mentor, as if one person can provide them with all they need.  Usually these people have many voices that speak into their lives and hold them accountable to what is truly important.  We need this to finish well.”

Second, invest in others!

     He goes on to say, “More than that, we need also to invest it in the next generation.  The very definition of finishing well requires that we leave this planet in the care of the next generation of leaders.  Unlike the Dead Sea, which receives water from many tributaries but contributes to none and is therefore stagnant and dead, the leader who finishes well is constantly growing because they are always giving and receiving.”  The reason some leaders have not finished well is because they have put so much emphasis on accomplishing tasks instead of strong mentoring relationships.

Third, be determined to remain faithful!

     About eighteen years ago we were in revival services where I was pastor.  Our evangelist was someone I had looked up to for years.  He had ministered and encouraged my family through good times and some tough times.  One morning he asked my advice and prayers on a decision he was making in the ministry at that time.  I was honored that he would even ask but I was challenged that day in a way that I have not forgotten when he said, “Bro. Larry, I want to finish well!”  Here was a man of God in my life who was not talking about stepping out of the fight but was praying and asking God to make the latter years of his ministry his most productive.

Fourth, find someone to be accountable to! 

It is a shame that so many will not finish well because the cause of Christ is damaged when leaders fall by the wayside.  If we do not want to be a statistic then we must be accountable to others as we strive by the grace of God to run the race and to finish well.  A mentor does not just point the way, they lead by example.  They do not want you to just be a follower but they challenge you to become a leader.  A mentor is as interested in you finishing well as they are in finishing well themselves.  Let’s run the race together!  

Fifth, realize the battle is real!

Listen to these statistics shared by Pastor Jonathan Falwell to thousands of ministers who were in Lynchburg, Va., for a “Refuel”Conference.

  • Half of pastors would leave the ministry tomorrow if they could.
  • Seventy percent are fighting depression and 90 percent can’t cope with the challenge of ministry.
  • 1,500 pastors walk away from ministry every month because of moral failure, burnout, conflict, discouragement or depression.
  • 80 percent of seminary and Bible school graduates will leave the ministry within their first five years.

Ephesians 6:11-12, “ Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.