What does it look like for a pastor to finish well?

There are many examples.  Here is one dear to me.  It is a pastor I knew for over 10 years, whose widow now attends our church.   By the time I had met this pastor, he had served faithfully as a pastor for over 40 years and was “retired.”  Retirement for this pastor met serving part time doing pastoral care at a large church, preaching every funeral he was called for (usually weekly), and preached somewhere most Sundays.  He was a simple man.  Very little education.  Yet, had led hundreds to the Lord, preached faithfully for over 40 years, and was nicknamed because of his tenacious shepherding of the sick the “master of the hospital room.” 

Probably his most affirming mark of perseverance in his ministry was how he spent his final day on this earth.  It was Easter Sunday.  He preached at a church in the morning.  He preached at another church in the evening.  Then, while getting ready for bed that night, had a massive heart attack and died.  What a way for a faithful preacher of the gospel all his life to leave this world.  He preached the resurrection of Jesus in the morning.  He preached the resurrection of Jesus in the evening.  Then, before the end of the night, experienced the resurrection himself and met the Lord Jesus.  Without question, this man persevered in his faith firm until the end.  His widow continues to hold fast to Christ in inspiring ways, despite the pain of losing her husband in this way.

Pastors like this man are the true heros and the ones to whom set the bar for us in pastoral ministry.  When we come to the end, dear brothers, it won’t matter how big our church was, how many books were written, or what famous pastors we knew.  What matters is how we finished.  This man finished well.  Are you on pace to do the same?

What pastor in your life modeled this same kind of perseverance to you?

Posted in Preaching, The Pastor's Soul, Training for Ministry
6 comments on “What does it look like for a pastor to finish well?
  1. Ben Schroder says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. That is truly inspiring.

  2. Nathan B says:

    Although not my pastor personally, a pastor at a church local to me that a number of my friends go to died just 3 days ago after a 7-month battle with lung cancer, you can read his blog he updated during the whole ordeal (up until a week before his death) here: http://subiacochurch.blogspot.com/

  3. Chad Beck says:

    Great post. So real, down to earth, and straight to the point. A pastor who is dear to my heart was taken the wrong way by his last church and voted out for a church discipline issue. Nonetheless, he has been faithful to the gospel even today. He has just been persistent and faithful to where God has called him. He has spent several hours pouring his life and the gospel into this young (really old) preacher boy and for that I am grateful!

  4. Jim Scott says:

    “When we come to the end, dear brothers, it won’t matter how big our church was, how many books were written, or what famous pastors we knew. What matters is how we finished. This man finished well. Are you on pace to do the same?”

    When Christ was on the cross He said, “It is finished.” Contrary to your conclusion there is nothing else to do… He did it. Your article implies salvation by works, that it is up to OUR strength if we are to be “saved,” as if we must earn God’s love and forgiveness.

    “God demonstrated His love for us, in that WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us.”

    • briancroft says:


      I would never imply any kind of works based salvation. Simply, I ampointing us to the doctrine of perseverance of the saints all throughout the NT with Paul’s words of 2 Timothy 4 in mind of fighting the good fight and finishing well. I would encourage you to read most of the other posts where my commitment to justification by faith alone through Christ alone is abundantly clear!

  5. briancroft says:


    I’m not sure who you are mad at or what I have done for you to have approached me with such an immature, mean-spirit, but I find it very troubling. I have not responded to your questions because of your sad and sinful manner to which you write them, not your questions in themselves, which only reveals some chip on your shoulder that I would suggest you take up with the one who helped put it there. I refuse to expose my readers who actually care for people and ministry to your ridiculous tactics to engage me in an argument with someone who clearly doesn’t care about resolving anything. Because of this, this will be my final response to you. I hope Christ is able to resolve whatever anger is in you that has caued you to respond so poorly and lash out at me.

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