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Nine ways to leave a legacy

The church I am currently serving will reach a milestone this year. School Creek Baptist Church will celebrate 140 years of ministry on November 3. When I think about the long history of our church legacy is what comes to mind.

What is a legacy?

Legacy is defined in part as “a thing handed down by a predecessor”, ( With this definition in mind, one could say that School Creek Baptist has been handed down a ministry which was started in 1879 by R. L. Miligan. Few in our church would recognize this name. However, God used this man to start a ministry that continues to impact lives for Christ to the present day.

The long history of School Creek Baptist Church causes me to reflect on my own ministry. What will my legacy be for this ministry? What will I pass on to those who come behind? 1 Corinthians 4:2 reads “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” The biblical meaning of stewardship is the responsibility we exercise for the work God gives us. As a pastor, I have been given a responsibility of stewardship over the spiritual lives of the members of School Creek Baptist Church. I’m responsible to minister the Word of God to them and faithfully serve this body of believers.

But how does one steward a ministry faithfully?

Nine ways you can fight the good fight of faithfulness and leave a legacy:

  1. Be a student of God’s word. Study the Bible daily. Attend biblically-based conferences and workshops, particularly ones that develop pastoral skills. Our study of God’s Word should be an on-going effort to grow in the knowledge, understanding, and application of the Bible to daily life.  
  2. Make sure every sermon you preach contains an evangelistic element and teaches principles for sanctification. The Gospel is the great message of the Church. Present the Gospel message and show how to grow in Christ.
  3. Pray daily for the spiritual growth of members and for your own spiritual growth. Your people need your prayers. You fill a vital role in the lives as a spiritual leader. Pray for your people. Also, pray that God would lead you in your own spiritual growth.
  4. Be a model of faithful stewardship, both financially and spiritually. Our lives should serve as an example for all the body. People watch what we do. Make it count. Let your light shine.
  5. Invest in the lives of your members. Be more than a preacher. Be a reacher. I try to attend all types of community events that members and their families are involved in. I regularly attend school plays, concerts, and athletic events. Your ministry will take on a new dimension when your people realize that you care about them and what they value.
  6. Find a handful of men to mentor and disciple one on one; impact lives that will impact lives. This is key to effective discipleship. When we reach other people and train them to reach others, the ministry is multiplied.
  7. Look for individuals who are called to the ministry. Part of the responsibility of a pastor is to raise up and equip others who are called into ministry. Take the time to teach them to be good stewards of their calling.
  8. Take time to be alone with the Lord, pray, meditate, and read scripture. Time alone with God can be a refreshing, rewarding and enriching for your own ministry.
  9. Take an honest, personal inventory of your walk with the Lord. Where are you growing? Are there things that need to change in your own walk? Recognize the areas that need improvement and hone the skills that you do well.

The importance of pastoral retreat

The last two items on the above list I do at least twice a year. I call it my personal retreat. I go somewhere where there will be no distractions. I look for a place where there is no phone, no TV, and nobody else around. A Christian camp or retreat center during the offseason are ideal places. I spend one to two days taking a spiritual inventory. I usually pick a book of the bible to work through. I ask the Lord to show me how the texts I study applies to my life. I pray that God will reveal the areas I need to work on. If I need to let go of something, I leave it there. These times of personal spiritual retreat have been transforming in my life.

These are just a few suggestions to help you think through the type of legacy you will leave at your place of ministry. We can each make a significant contribution to the kingdom through simple steps of faithfulness. My prayer is that you will leave a faithful spiritual legacy that will be handed down to those who follow you.

Chris Ortego

Chris has been in the ministry since 1989 serving as a youth minister, minister of education, senior adult minister, and pastor.He has also pastored in New York for nine years. Chris currently serves as the President of the Bi-vocational and small church association of Texas and also as Pastor of School Creek Baptist Church in Lampasas, Texas. He has a M.A. in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Chris has been married to his wife Brenda for 31 years.