My One Word for 2018 is legacy. What comes to your mind when you hear that word? Some will equate that with fame. To some extent, someone who has a good legacy has fame. But that isn’t the focus of my word. The first dictionary meaning is about leaving money to help a family or organization continue. That’s not my focus either.
Let me start with something that too many substitute for legacy. It is the lesser alternative called longevity. Many people just want to live and hang around as long as they can. Others want to be in charge as long as they can and have difficulty giving authority, responsibility and power to others. Parents want to control their kids as long as possible – often way too long. But longevity, no matter the context, all ends the same way. Longevity ends. Things change and we all die. Longevity actually ends up being… well, not all that long. Life and every season in life is really short. Those are cold facts we can’t ignore.
But legacy asks the question about what’s left after we die or a season is over. What influence have we poured into our kids before they grow up and move out on their own? What influence have we built into others that goes on long after we retire? Who have we helped come to faith and discipled to help become more like Jesus? Who will carry Jesus to people and places we’ll never go ourselves? Legacy asks the questions about how I use my life now to make a difference that might outlive me and even outpace me.
So I’ve begun to focus more on building into other leaders. I wish I would have embraced this in a stronger way and much earlier. I’m mentoring several pastors in our town now. These are terrific men who have a passion to lead healthy churches. I’m in my second year of helping lead Pastors’ Edge, a monthly meeting with 4Tucson serving Lead or Senior Pastors in Tucson to provide practical best practices to help pastors be healthy and lead healthy churches. I’m mentoring a couple of great guys our staff. And I’m making sure I make time to be with my granddaughter who is now 6 years old.
And we’ve started a new focus here at Pantano. We have just launched a leadership development process that we call Next Level Leadership. It’s taken about a year to develop it and we are starting with asking our leadership team at Pantano to each mentor at least one person. We want to start small so we can figure out what we missed or what we need to improve or change. I hope by early 2019 that we’ll be able to open this up beyond our staff to our church. We want to help people that God has gifted and called to be leaders to grow and move the next level of leadership (that’s where we got the name!). I’m really excited about this.
All this is part of my focus on legacy. I want to take my years of experience, all the dumb tax I’ve paid, and all that God has build in me and taught me and pass it on. I want to multiply leaders following the legacy principle that Paul talked about in 2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. What will your legacy be? Who will carry your legacy to the next generation? What is that legacy you want to continue on?