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Finishing Well By David J. Gyertson

Christian Leadership Alliance

By David J. Gyertson –

As Christ-centered ministry leaders how do we ensure we are on the path of finishing well?

We have a challenging and difficult responsibility to meld Christian Leadership that is relational, transformational, and operational. To succeed in this calling, I believe we must embrace a whole-personal model of disciple making that, at its core, is a process of spiritual awakening and formation. At the very heart of this calling is a commitment to regeneration, restoration, and renewal designed to produce spiritually formed disciples of Jesus Christ who are about to change their world as they work in the ministries they lead.

Through the proceedings of India’s 2004 Kolkata Conference of The International Council for Higher Education, I found a framework that informs this culminating phase of my life and calling. Using the contexts of the conference’s purpose statements, I developed a series of affirmations designed to be the statements of my leadership journey to the hub of Christ-centered learning, loving, and serving.

Affirmation One

Christ-centered leaders embrace the Christian perspective as reflected in God’s Word. They are empowered to appropriate those perspectives by the Holy Spirit’s Gifts and graces to initiative a positive, practical, and respectively dialogue with the world about the implications of such perspectives.

Affirmation Two

Christ-centered leaders move beyond cognitive learning and skill acquisition to intentional discipleship as their ultimate objective. Through the conscious integration of faith, learning, and living, Christ-centered leaders examine their professional missions and motivations, asking how the fruit of their labor relates to the purposes of God. Christ-centered leaders not only analyze the outcomes of their efforts but also explore their moral implications.

Affirmation Three

Christ-centered leaders embrace a great-commandment motivation that compels them to address poverty, illness, exploitation, discrimination, and oppression in the world. They possess a burden for those who for reasons of culture, social position, political oppression, economic condition, race, gender, and ethnicity are denied the basics of life’s opportunities. The mission and motivation of Christ drive Christ-centered leaders.

Affirmation Four

Christ-centered leaders reflect major biblical themes of justice, mercy, and humility in their daily lives. They act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God. (Micah 6:8) All three provide evidence of the transformation that comes when the mind is challenged to see and serve the world as Christ does.

Affirmation Five

Christ-centered leaders think clearly and love deeply – providing noble service distinguished by its excellence, innovation, humility, and self-sacrifice.

By embracing these five affirmations, I believe Christ-centered, spiritually formed leaders can serve the present age and help transform the world’s future (responsibly occupying until Jesus returns).

With Jesus Christ at the hub, the basic elements of spiritually formed leadership become a creative force. I encourage you to develop an integrated approach that stretches the minds, cradles the hearts, and extends redemptive hands to serve a waiting world with compassion and excellence. May you know the joy of finishing well.


Dr. David Gyertson is the Associate Provost and Dean of the Beeson International Center for Biblical Preaching and Church Leadership, Asbury Theological Seminary. This post is an excerpt from Nonproft Leadership in a For-profit World: Essential Insights From 15 Christian Executives. (Standard Publishing 2011)

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