“Finishing Well” & J. Robert Clinton

Written by on May 24, 2011

A unique group of people gathered last month to celebrate Dr. J. Robert Clinton’s legacy and influence in their lives. During this occasion, Clinton addressed the group with a talk entitled “Finishing Well or Testing My Legacy.” He returned to some themes and observations very familiar to the group. Leadership is difficult. Very few leaders finish their race well, that is, with a maturity, commitment, faithfulness, humility and “zeal for Jesus”. God’s enabling presence is the essential ingredient for successful leadership. Spiritual leadership can make a real difference. As Clinton reflected upon those who had finished well he underscored the importance of “passing on values to insure a legacy.” The lesson he drew out of his study was that modeling and sharing values is the strongest way a leader can pass on his or her values to the next generation. He then unpacked for the group six personal values, i.e. underlying assumptions about how he perceives leadership and practices it….We thought we would share them with you:

Value #1—A leader must seek intimacy with God in terms of beingness, for ministry flows out of being. Value #2—A leader should have a developmental mindset, for God is a God who develops people. Value #3—A leader must continually be developing in terms of his/her grasp of God’s Word, for God’s Word is His foundational revelation of Himself and His purposes. Value #4—Over a lifetime, a leader must walk in obedience to God, for obedience is the key to knowing God’s will for a life. Value #5—Over a lifetime a leader must be transformed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, for a major goal of the developing God is transformation of an individual toward Christlikeness in terms of the leader’s uniqueness. Value #6—A leader should minister with gifted power, for the essential ingredient of leadership is the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of the leader.[1]

Dr. Clinton’s reminders that God is a developing God personally struck me. It provided a timely reminder to pay reverent attention to what God may be up to in the lives of those people in my community as well as to what God is up to in my own life. Or as Paul reminds us in his words to Philippi, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Is this sort of developmental mindset characterizing your life and ministry?

[1] Unpublished notes from J. Robert Clinton’s “Finishing Well or Testing My Legacy” April 11,2011 talk.

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