Do you remember a time when you felt God was calling you to do something else with your life? A time when your work and the status quo of your life started to become stale? For Fred Clark, the call came several years ago while he was in the midst of his professional career as the founding partner of a successful law firm in Washington D.C. Fred Clark’s experience in the Halftime Institute was a pleasant surprise that helped him thrive in his career transition.
When Clark heard God’s call, he knew he needed to listen, but it took him finally facing retirement in 2013 to slow down and start making a change. He spent 2014 fixing up his house in Vail, golfing and skiing while also visiting the children around the world that he and his wife supported.
During that year, it was like God said to him, “I have a plan for you but you need to get a few things in order before I show you what I want you to do.’’ Fred felt he had a lot of work, repair and learning to do in respect to all of the things he ignored in his professional life, specifically his relationship with his family and finances. He knew that focusing on these areas would be foundational for what the Lord had planned for him next.
Clark first learned about the ‘Halftime’ concept in 2009 when he read Bob Buford’s Finishing Well with his accountability partner, Don Wright. When Clark began to transition out of full-time work in 2013, Don and his wife Kathy encouraged him to consider the Halftime program. Although Fred was somewhat familiar with the Halftime concept, he still had reservations about signing up for the Fellows Program. He listed two concerns in particular:
1. I looked at the success stories of other guys who went through the program and thought, “These guys are a lot more successful than I am, why would they want to be in a group with me?”
2. The price tag. If my employer was paying for a personal development opportunity, that would be one thing, but to write the check myself, that’s different.
Eventually, the decision to take part in the Fellows Program was something that Fred and his wife made together and he signed up for the June 2015 Cohort. What Fred didn’t expect was that the experience itself was a completely different one than he ever imagined.
Clark says, ‘‘I tell everyone I talk to when we’re discussing the Fellows Program that I expected to discover what I would be doing professionally for the next five years of my life, but now I realize it is so much more than that. The experience is about starting in the middle of the bull’s eye and working your way out. It starts with your heart.’’
Like most people enrolled at the Halftime Institute, Clark was on an exhilarating growth curve in many dimensions of his life: his faith, his marriage, his parenting, his health, and of course, God’s unique calling for his second half of life.
Now that Fred is into his second year of the program, he says that his life has changed in many positive and exciting ways. He feels he’s much more intentional about his relationship with his wife of 24 years, extended family, siblings, elderly mother and grown daughter.
Fred has also sent over 20 of the Halftime books to friends in his stage of life – people who are ready to retire or are tired of what they are doing and looking to do something else. He says he gives them to people, not necessarily because he thinks they should enroll in the Fellows Program (although two of his friends have now signed up), but because he believes the book is a thought provoking tool for people to break through the practical and spiritual barriers in their life and start living with greater joy, impact and balance.
Fred felt that God had given him a lot of tasks to take care of in respect to his family, his wife and getting his finances in order. Through his experience with the Fellows Program, he is learning that he doesn’t need to make a huge change like move to Brazil or start his own nonprofit. The Fellows Program helped him realize that he can minister in a huge way to people who are already a part of his day-to-day life.
For example, in 2010 Fred’s wife started taking in women looking for a temporary place to stay. The first woman was one who needed to live somewhere for 60 days before she got married, while another was someone from their church who was brought to the United States from Africa. These are the people Fred is starting to realize that God is nudging him to minister to. He says, “I had experience with missions around the world, but I wasn’t really invested with the women in our home in the way that the Lord wanted me to be. It’s all part of the learning curve that I’m experiencing through the Fellows Program. It’s what’s inside that He wants me to take care of first. My heart.”
Fred believes that the power of the Fellows Program is the coaching. His coach has walked alongside him through the entire process and helped him work through a lot of things he otherwise would not have taken the time to consider. The process has helped him to start writing things down and journaling more. He uses Bob Buford’s method of building on the islands of health and strength to determine the areas in life where he needs to focus.
Four of the five areas that Clark is working on are really about making internal changes to work on his heart. He says that most people think in the mentality: ‘‘If Friday is my last day of work, then I need to determine where I’m going to be on Monday.’’ Clark believes that the Fellows Program is not just about discerning what the plan is for Monday, but it’s also about determining what’s in your heart.
According to Clark, ‘‘The biggest impact we have in our own life may come from encounters with people who aren’t even within earshot. In other words, if we are living the life that God calls us to live, a life of significance, our character and our actions could impact the lives of people we may never even know.”
By sharing his experience of discovery with others, Fred is able to do more than speak to his own fulfillment. He is able to inspire many people to see beyond themselves and make their own Halftime Impact. How will you use the gifts God has given you to humbly serve?
What is your Halftime Impact?