Thinking about what’s next before they have to — that’s what marks the greatest leaders, business people, athletes, and politicians of the world. It’s also a common trait of exceptionally wise pastors. What’s next for you? Sooner or later, unless Jesus returns during your lifetime, there will be a leadership baton pass. Thinking about that transition ahead of time might make all the difference in your and your church’s or ministry’s legacy. There’s an old saying the US Marine Corps used during a battle: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re dead.” The same can be said for succession planning. The earlier you start planning, the better. In fact, we believe no date is too early to begin planning. Wait too long, and you may find that you’re late — or metaphorically dead.
All pastors, even those serving very happily and fruitfully, need to begin thinking now about their succession. But long before they look to relocate or retire, they need to deal with three issues. To address the question of legacy thinking, three key issues must be sorted through. Developing sound answers can free pastors to go to new levels as they deal with the big picture of legacy.
1. Define succession success. What does success look like three years after the hand-off from the retiring pastor to the successor pastor? Even if you’re part of an appointment system where you have no say in the person who will follow you, you still can have a huge influence in how you end, how well the church is prepared for a successor, and what path and direction the church’s momentum will be moving toward when the successor arrives.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird