Recently, an acquaintance asked me, “Do you have someone you are training to take over your ministry? Are you planning for your successor?” If that question was not enough, they then asked, “What will your legacy look like?

Wow! That is a lot to think about for most of us. However, it is something that has been on my mind for many years. Since then, we have taken these thoughts to the Lord and asked Him to help us to understand how to raise up a leader. God gave Beverly and I a "miracle child" 43 years ago who we named Jason. So, in light of these questions and Father’s Day coming soon, I want to share on how Beverly and I raised our son as a Kingdom Leader, leaving a legacy, trained a man of valor, and cultivated a man who loves God.

We began to lay the foundation for mentoring our son at an early age.

We longed to raise our son in the ways of the Lord, and we discovered the following steps, processes, and courses of action in the mentoring journey.

1. Lead by example

​ We acknowledged him as one who would do more than we did in ministry.

​ He heard affirmation, and we declared and supported him in public.

​ We assured him of God’s calling on his life and that God would guide and protect him ​ in this process.

2. Show him critical thinking skills

​ We taught, at length, the cost of life, ministry, education, and relationships.

3. Teach him how to love by loving him unconditionally

​ How to overcome fear and imparted strength and courage and teaching him to handle ​ obstacles with God’s help.

4. Help him serve others

​ During this time, we instilled the importance of being gentle, considerate, merciful, ​ compassionate, and giving.

​ We also impressed upon him to always move in truth, being led by the Spirit of the Lord.

​ And we helped him acquire, receive, and possess his leadership inheritance.

5. Shared faith through Scripture and example

​ We taught the importance of truth and accountability, as well as the importance of honor.

6. Prayed with him

​ We made him aware of the blessings of obedience and the cursing of disobedience.

7. Helped him develop and have his own faith

By mentoring and imparting these steps to Jason, he grew… becoming a strong man of faith who possessed confidence in what God was calling him to do.

Billy Graham said something that should be part of our mindset. He said,

Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.

Over the years, I have discovered that we all have a tendency to waste time. I diligently strive to not waste time. We live in a world filled with media and many distractions that truly bombard our minds all the time. So, I practice a discipline of being very conscious of what I am doing and what I desire to accomplish each day.

As Paul pondered the end of his life, he made three very simple statements about his legacy:

  1. He had “fought the good fight”—standing firm as a spiritual warrior, clothed in the armor of God, faithfully defending the truth of the Gospel.
  2. He had “finished the race”—ensuring in the process that he was neither disqualified nor disheartened in the marathon of life and ministry.
  3. And most importantly, he had “kept the faith”—remaining true, committed, and loyal to the One who rescued him from sin and darkness.

Notice that Paul’s brief statements here say nothing about the education he had received, the places he had traveled, the letters he had written, the people he had preached to, or the churches he had planted. He flat out wanted his legacy to be labeled as “faithful”. I love that! It’s what I want to aspire to as a follower of Jesus.

So, I have to ask myself, “If that’s the kind of legacy I want to leave, how would I pursue it today?

Well, it means that my choices need to be more about “fighting the good fight.” I need to put on the spiritual armor each morning, as Paul told the Ephesians to do, and live to be victorious in all that comes my way.

I need to be running the race to win, putting off all that hinders and the sins that entangle. (Hebrews 12:1).

And, it means that in every situation I want my attitudes, my words, and my actions to be loyal and true to Jesus.

As Paul told the Philippians, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Hebrews 3:13-14)

John F. Kennedy, in Profiles in Courage, described the need for courageous people:

"Some men show courage throughout the whole of their lives. Others sail with the wind until the decisive moment when their conscience and events propel them into the center of the storm."

If you want to leave a lasting legacy, you need to act with courage to reach out to those in need.

Ask God to give your children a sense of purpose, direction, and mission. The challenge here is to leave your children a heritage, not just an inheritance. As someone once said, "Our children are messengers we send to a time we will not see.

The challenge is the same for all of us. Will we follow Christ and fulfill His call and vision for our lives? Just as we found spiritual life in no other Person than Jesus Christ, so we find a dignity like no other in the destiny He provides.

"The greatest legacy on can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith." Billy Graham

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