Brett Favre is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in NFL history. His legacy is largely defined by gritty, gutsy play. That kind of courage and the confidence that comes with it are a big part of what made Brett Favre one of the best.
But his legacy is now also defined by his inability to recognize when it was time to move on. When it came time to find a new future, Brett didn’t end well. He retired, then unretired several times. He kept believing that he had one more year in him, even when his body and performance clearly told him otherwise. His series of transitions was so tragic that it even became the butt of late-night television jokes.
What does Brett Favre have to do with pastoral succession, including those who are still far from actual retirement?
A person’s greatest strength, when unguarded, can become that same person’s greatest weakness. And Favre’s story, like that of so many other aging athletes who stay one too many seasons, is played out in churches by highly competent pastors far too often. In ministry, a pastor’s confidence — one of the qualities God uses to build a church — can become one of the biggest obstacles to pastoral succession. The very voice of confidence that overcomes a fear of public speaking and enables a pastor for years to get up in front of the congregation and boldly proclaim God’s Word — that voice, if unchecked, can also whisper in the pastor’s ear, “You’ve got another good year or two in you.”
The voice may have many different translations: “Stay, because this church still needs you,” or “You’ve been here so long that you can do things a newcomer couldn’t,” or even “This church owes a great debt to you that you need to receive and cherish here.”
And so begins the far-too-often-played story of the pastor who keeps hanging on long after the vision and energy for the current ministry are gone, long after the community around the church has changed, or long after the congregation has stagnated.
No pastor wants that for a legacy. No pastor wants to be the leader who walks out of a meeting only to be the subject of the next conversation that centers around, “How do we tell Pastor that we think it’s time to consider a change?”
So how do you know when your time has come to let go?
If your succession is one you can plan and have some control over, these 10 indicators might help you know when it is the right time to leave.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird