Posted 4 years 125 days ago ago by Doug Lawrence 0 Comments
Years ago I became a believer in life insurance. I know a lot of people don’t share my admiration for this financial product, but, just maybe, their life experience has been unlike mine.
My father died when I was seven years old and he was thirty-five. My eldest daughter died when she was a mere thirty-six years old, leaving behind her seven and three-year old children. I have numerous friends who have suffered the loss of a mate at an early age as well. This crisis in timing—this weird and out-of-sequence tragedy often dashes hopes and dreams of those who remain. Life insurance does not replace the person you’ve lost, but it often soothes and comforts for years after.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the remark (in my own family particularly), “He really was thinking about our security and made sure we would be O.K. if anything were to happened to him.” Every time those or similar words are spoken there is a quiet nodding of the assembled heads in the room, and a peaceful affirmation that so-in-so was a good man (or woman) and really cared about those he (she) loved. In other words, it forms part of the legacy to us from someone who cared deeply about us, but cannot participate in our future.
Allow me this somewhat forced metaphor if you will. When we leave the churches where we have served (sometimes for long tenures), we become the “dead” person. We loved the family, but we can no longer participate in their future. Sometimes we’re really sad about this fact and sometimes we don’t particularly care—especially if we had a negative experience in that position. But, I submit, we should take out some “life insurance” or “legacy insurance” before we go, in order to make sure people say, “He/she really cared about us.”
How do you do that?
I have had many mentors in my life. The best of them always knew how to give advice without seeming to give advice. So, I’m just going to tell you some of the things I wanted to leave behind at my most recent ministry. I had 21 years to figure this out—take your time, but do it for those you love.
So, my values and hoped for legacy...
A community—essential to the life and health of any institution is the sense that they are mutually supportive of one another. Spending time building community before everything else is the way successful ministries are nurtured. You may be remembered for your innovations, but you will be held in high regard because of the “family” you cared for and loved.
A lesson well learned—every great leader is also a great teacher and allows his/her students to be guided by principles well-fought for and which build character. Thoughtful education and instruction demonstrates your love for those you serve.
An awe for God’s desire for our worship—to speak of God’s response to our worship, to affirm it, and to encourage it is a high calling. Those of us who get to create, implement, and resource others to perform it are the most blessed people on the face of the earth. When we help others to catch the Wind of worship, we change forever their understanding and love of God.
The gift of an open mind—for our own sanity, and the peace and unity of the church, we must open ourselves to a wide range of expression in every aspect of our worship. Music is just one area where the more restrictive we become, the more we keep people from witnessing the whole of God’s majesty. Be open, help open, and keep open the doors of the church for everyone—not just those whose style sense agrees with yours.
If these things make sense, then God has gifted me to give a legacy to you. If not, then seek God’s perfect plan (legacy) for your ministry and the lives you will leave behind when you’re gone!
Doug Lawrence, internationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, helps churches assess and improve their skillfulness in creating engaging worship experiences by utilizing his more than 35 years of "deep trench" worship leadership in prominent mainline churches. has been a consultant to church leaders for 35 years and is anxious to be helpful to you in leadership, musical, and staffing considerations. Or, if you wish, call 650.207.8240 for assessment information and scheduling.
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