Finishing Well

Those of us who have enjoyed the challenges and privileges of employment have (most likely) encountered the “short-timer” (not to be confused with the short-termer, that is another subject all together). This “short-timer” knows that their time in their current employment situation is limited, and that their decreasing level of productivity is often greatly effected by their level of concentration on their next step – whatever that may be. Or they may be thinking that what they do doesn’t matter (be it nothing, or doing something and not doing it with excellence, efficiency, etc.) because, what is the worst that would happen, they would be fired? I experienced this first-hand, with professing Christians and non-believers alike. In one instance, I took on the work load of this “short-timer” and found an inadequate quality of work that was sloppy and/or incomplete. The temptation is great to coast to the end, to do the bare minimum necessary to keep in reasonably good-standing with your current employer. It is understandable that, to some extent, a level of attention has to be given to the next step. However, that can become an excuse to ditch current responsibilities and arrive at the end of the time just barely doing enough to get by.

What kind of witness is this? Is this a way to distinguish a Christian from the world? Or is it one more example of how the life of the average Christian is looking more and more like those who do not profess Christ?
Does this exhibit integrity, character, or a Christ-like dedication to and respect for our employing company, managers, and co-workers? Is it Extreme? Is it a way to help expand God’s Kingdom here on earth?

The Cercado team is encountering this face-to-face right now. As we inaugurate the new temple this coming Sunday, the goal is that everything has been handed off to our national leaders (everything primarily being fixed roles of ministry in the church and the leading of our in-home Bible Studies). This is completely healthy, appropriate, and necessary for the long-term sustainability of the Puerta Abierta Church. However, this means a great adjustment for our 40/40s. Those who are used to having control, to being involved in every event and in making key decisions are retreating to an extent to allow space for the voice and leadership of the national leaders.
In that, their job roles are changing and becoming less structured. Their weeks used to be filled with preparing for and leading Bible Studies, attending various church leadership meetings, visiting new contacts, and initiating all the steps necessary to accomplish these tasks. Now, the goal is to be in charge of nothing. To work themselves out of a job. Their job now is to come alongside a national leaders and take a secondary role, supporting and encouraging the national leader. The goal is that, in a very short time, they aren’t “in charge” of anything.
We are now two months out from our finishing date here in Arequipa. “Normal” is for people to begin checking out and coasting to the end.
Part of my job is the lead them strong to the end. The 40/40s need to work 100% until the end. That means that I need to do the same.

I have been reminded more and more lately that we are always teaching others, and everyone has something to teach us. We can’t deny our constant influence over others, and we can’t assume that someone doesn’t have something to teach us just by their personality, personal appearance, history, etc.

With that in mind, how our team finishes here has great ramifications.

1) This is the first team to use a single-church model within Extreme. No one before us has finished in the way that we need to finish. Pioneer work is always more difficult. We are teaching the clusters in Ambato, Ibarra, and beyond how to finish well and pass the church off to the national leaders.

2) Finishing well helps our 40/40s and the Cercado Cluster demonstrate integrity and character in how we spend these final two months.

3) We are teaching the national leaders in our church how to finish well, how to be different from the world. Hopefully, they can transfer these examples of integrity and character not only to their co-workers in their current jobs, but also to their disciples. One day, they need to pass their responsibilities off to someone, and will need to instill these same values, priorities, and processes.

Our Pastor told the team recently that, if they are not willing to give 100% to the end, then why not just go home? If we are not willing to go all-in, there is no reason to be here. That is a great challenge for me, and for any of you who are in the process of finishing something. Be comforted in the fact that you are not alone.