After some 27 years as a senior pastor, at age 58, I have taken on what I hope will be my fourth and final church. By the grace of God, I’ve made it this far and with His help I plan to finish strong.

Based on experience, accumulated wisdom and the Spirit’s guidance, here are 10 practices I will give special attention to as I head into the home stretch.

1. Shed Saul’s armor (1 Samuel 17:39). Rather than fretting over another church’s success and trying to emulate someone else’s style, I’m going to try harder to be what God called and equipped me to be.

2. Build margin into my schedule (Psalms 46:10). As a younger minister, I felt validated by staying as busy as possible. In the years that remain, I’m going to maintain as much “white space” as possible, ready and anticipating needed refueling time and spontaneous ministry opportunities.

3. Keep in shape (1 Corinthians 6:19). I used to run — now I walk. And I plan to continue to do so as much as my body and time will allow. This is not only good for physical conditioning, but mental health as well. I might even kill three birds with one stone by listening to books, sermons and music on my phone as I walk.

4. Stay relevant (Proverbs 29:18). I refuse to be the flip phone guy in a smart phone world. Whereas, I may not trade in my pleated pants for skinny jeans, I do plan on staying as current as possible in this ever-changing world.

5. Speak positively (Colossians 4:6). I want to spend the rest of my life in full awareness that the Lord hears and records every single word I say. Suppressing the flesh, I want to take the verbal high road, both privately and publicly. I love it when I run across older men who exude graciousness and kindness. I want to join their tribe.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Todd Gaddis

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