Many perceive a legacy in terms of wealth, status, or a name. However, an eternal perspective views a legacy through the lens of serving the Lord and ministering to others. Clint Clifton had such a legacy. He invested his life, resources, and knowledge in raising up church planters and leaders.
Clint Clifton was the founder of Pillar Church of Dumfries and served with the North American Mission Board as the senior director of Resource and Research Strategy for Washington, DC. On January 12, 2023, Clint went to his eternal home after dying in a plane crash in Georgia. On this side of eternity, it can feel like his life was cut short, but he left an indelible imprint on the lives of hundreds and even thousands of men and women.
Raúl Santamaría, SBCV’s Hispanic church planting strategist and a close friend of Clint, shared that it was Clint who introduced him to the SBC of Virginia. Raúl already had pastoral and leadership experience, but Clint gave him the tools to plant churches and multiply leaders with an organized system.
Together, they visited Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador, teaching others about church planting. Raúl remembers how “Clint loved the Church and believed in the Church.” He taught Raúl that “churches plant churches, not organizations.”
Raúl shared, “He taught me that God had given His Church the power to accomplish His will by preaching the Gospel.”
Raúl introduced other church planters to Clint Clifton. Giovanny Ortiz, church planter of Iglesia Biblica Bautista Emanuel of Leesburg, shared that Clint spent a year with him, mentoring him on church planting three hours a week through New City Network. “Many things Clint taught me have been practical. He was a busy man, but he would continue to contact us. He was a determined leader who believed the sky is the limit and that if we have the Holy Spirit, we can do anything God is leading us to do.”
“Clint would see a church planter in any person willing to follow Jesus and committed to evangelism,” shared Jefferson Hernandez, church planter of Iglesia Biblica Campo Blanco in Potomac Falls. “I met Clint at SBCV’s Homecoming some years ago. At that time, I was considering and praying about what God wanted me to do in ministry. When Clint and I started talking, he encouraged me to plant a healthy church that would influence other churches to teach them about church planting.”
When Jefferson’s church grew, and he had many questions, Clint met with him and used a napkin to draw a diagram, teaching the importance of prayer and developing leaders and systems. Clint used his ministry example and, in the end, he crossed out his name, saying, “When we do this, I (Clint) am no longer needed to run these ministries, and I can move on to the next thing God has for me.” This napkin is a treasure for Jefferson, reminding him of those moments when Clint invested in him and others.
When Clint entered eternity, he heard those words we all strive for: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Clint is undoubtedly rejoicing in the time and resources he invested in others to grow in and serve Jesus. ■