Finish Well

It’s that time of year when things are starting to come to an end for the year – TV seasons are wrapping up, Christmas decorations are in the stores, work Christmas parties dot the landscape and many ministries are coming to a close for the year.

For some of you, you will be feeling like you are only just limping over the line. You’re exhausted and you’re counting down the days until you get a break. Well done for your perseverance this year! Leadership is a tough gig sometimes – you carry a unique burden and it’s understandable that you’re tired.

One of the traps we can fall into when we’re tired, though, is not finishing the year well. We get to the end of the year and we just go our separate ways. However, finishing well is important.

God knows the importance of celebrating and having fun. I think it says a lot about God that the way He commanded His people to worship Him was by feasting as well as fasting. Bible scholars have identified at least 7 feasts for the Jewish people in the Old Testament. Indeed, Jesus knew the potential ministry that can be done over meals and celebrations. His first miracle was at a wedding feast!

So, can I encourage you to consider the following 3 things to do as you seek to finish 2016 well:

  1. Debrief with your team. Jesus would take His disciples aside and debrief with them (Luke 10:17-20). It’s important to review together, learn the lessons, celebrate the triumphs, clear the air of any interpersonal stuff.
  2. Have fun together. Celebrate the year together. Just as God gave the Israelites feasts to celebrate His blessings (Exodus 23:16) over the previous year, so we should celebrate together and use it as an opportunity to praise and worship God.
  3. Thank your team. Make sure you take the time to thank them for their service. While we know we serve a higher calling, it’s always encouraging to be acknowledged by our leader. I think that was largely what drove a lot of Paul’s letters (Philippians 1:5; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2). Shout your team a coffee, buy them some chocolates, write them a note. As Mother Theresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

People love serving with leaders who take the time to finish well, acknowledge the team and acknowledge God’s blessings over the last 12 months.

And so, just as I’ve asked you to do with your team, let me say to you, “Thank you for another awesome year.” God is at work in transforming lives. Let me give you one example to finish off the year – one young lady (Molly) started the year not knowing Jesus. During 2016, through the investment of people in our Church, she became a Christian at the I Believe Conference, was baptised, is now serving at Kidzone and will soon be welcomed into membership of the Church. That’s just one example! Let’s pray for many more in 2017!

“Everyone really does win when a leader gets better.” (Bill Hybels)

God said to the Israelites, “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15)

 Father, thank You for another great year. Thank you for the team of people You have raised up to server Your mission and purpose. Bless each person as we seek to lead Your Church well. Amen.