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Finishing Strong in Youth Ministry

By Doug Franklin April 12, 2016

Dr. J. Robert Clinton, professor at Fuller Seminary, did a study of leaders in the Bible and determined that only 30 percent of them finished strong. This leadership skill requires us to do whatever it takes, no matter the cost, in order to accomplish the goal. How can contemporary Christian leaders do what so many leaders from the Bible couldn’t? Leaders who finish strong …

Face Challenges

The apostle Paul was a leader who left his mark on the world. He endured many hardships while he shared the gospel. He was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and falsely accused, yet he never lost sight of his ultimate goal. While each day was harder for him than the last, he never failed to rise to the challenge. At the end of his life, he gave this advice about finishing strong to his mentee, Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7–8).

Demonstrate Courage

There is something contagious about someone who is courageous. The fire of their personality kindles a spark in the souls of the lives they touch. Daniel was just such a man. He lived a consistent life of devotion to God. He had an ironclad will that was molded by the will of his God. At the end of his life, he again faced persecution for his beliefs.

King Darius had issued a decree that “anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except [him] shall be thrown into the lions’ den” (Dan. 6:7). It would have been easier to give in this time. He faced certain death. But Daniel did not sway. “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Dan. 6:10). He looked death in the eye and chose obedience no matter the cost. What would you have done?

“There is something contagious about someone who is courageous.”

Make a Choice

Joshua saved his last speech for God’s chosen people and the recipients of the Lord’s immense love and staunch discipline. He explained to them how to live a life that was not their own. He demanded that his people choose to fulfill their duty or leave:

“Now fear the Lord and Serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:14–15).

Have a Celebration

Every good leader understands that celebration is part of teamwork. Nehemiah set aside time to celebrate what the Lord had done and to ask for the Lord’s blessing on their faithfulness. Take careful note of Nehemiah’s continual striving for excellence.

“Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” … From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.

Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God” (Neh. 8:10, 17 –18).

He allowed for the people to celebrate their accomplishment, but he continued to pressure them to follow God. Nehemiah knew this was the only way for the walls to stay standing.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More