Succession Planning Is: A Springboard for Planning

Dictionary.com defines the word “Springboard” as “something that supplies the impetus or conditions for a beginning, change, or progress; a point of departure.”

This translates well into the topic of leadership transitions.  Succession Planning is a process that “supplies impetus or conditions for a beginning, change, or progress; a point of departure”

Effective succession plans have four springboards built into the process.  Most leadership teams, however, only take time to build two.  Smart organizations, the ones paying attention and planning well, build all four.

Leadership Springboard 1: PROGRESS

This is the springboard built for the leader that is transitioning out.  Maybe “Progress” isn’t the word you would have chosen to associate with someone’s retirement.  Consider the difference between leaving something and transitioning to something else.  Smart leaders not only understand this principle, they plan for it.  A retirement based transition doesn’t mark the end of a leader’s journey, rather the natural progression of life.  The process of succession planning, for the retiring leader, is the gateway to their next season of influence.  This is also true for leaders trying to navigate a mid-career change.  The healthy implementation of a transition plan actually increases a leader’s level of influence in their next season.

Leadership Springboard 2: BEGINNING

This leadership springboard has to do with the person stepping into the role of successor.  I find it interesting to see how a person’s leadership capacity instantly grows when thrust into new roles.  It’s not that something mystical happens, but stepping into something new allows a person to express their leadership in ways they were not able to in a previous role.  In the same way a springboard launches a gymnast to heights they could not achieve on their own, a well planned transition strategy will increase the leadership capacity of the successor.

It is a reality, however, that not all successors succeed.  There are several reasons for this, but let me offer a word of caution in a specific area.  Don’t assume the successor has developed every skill needed for success in their new role.  No one is perfect.  We all have blind spots.  Not creating capacity day 1 for the successor to grow is an all too common mistake.  Organizations tend to assume (insert joke here!) that the new leader will have everything needed to move them forward.  Not necessarily.  Depending on the size and scope of responsibilities, it is anywhere from 6-9 months when their leadership deficiencies become exposed.  We’ve all seen it.  We even have a cute phrase to describe this phenomenon.  You can fill in the blank. “The _____________________________ period is over!”

There is no need to fall into this trap.  Build the successor a springboard to help them launch well.

Leadership Springboard 3: CHANGE

It’s rare to see a leadership transition that impacts only one person.  It is more common for a key leadership change to spark a series of other staffing changes.  The result is that additional opportunities are created for increased responsibility for other people within the organization.

Transitions create “opt-in” opportunities.

Be prepared for this by building springboards into your transition strategy that propel others within the existing organizational structure.  This is a unique opportunity to reward and promote talent from within.  Even if the springboard isn’t a full promotion, expanding the areas of responsibility for key people can be just as effective in affirming their contribution and building morale.

Leadership Springboard 4: A POINT OF DEPARTURE

Yes, Succession Planning is a springboard for Leadership, but not always within your organization.  The reality is that sometimes leadership transitions at the top levels of an organization lead to voluntary (or non-voluntary) departures at other levels.  Don’t be too quick to assume this is the response of an immature employee that lacks loyalty.  The transition of a key leader could very well be the specific circumstance God uses to spark a desire to transition for others.

Transitions create “opt-out” opportunities.

Don’t be caught off guard by this reality.  Instead, embrace it.  Not doing so comes across as small minded and defensive.  Instead, give yourself enough time to help your staff process where they are.  Have open and honest dialogue.  Invest in their career path and progression.  You are doing everything possible to springboard your retiring leader into their next season.  Carve out room to do the same for others as well.  Be proactive in in building springboards to help serve as healthy points of departure for everyone.

Let me close with this final thought – Nothing exposes leadership like a leadership transition.

Investing the time and energy to build each springboard is an important part of developing a holistic succession planning strategy.  But it goes deeper than that.  Being intentional about building all four springboards into your process is the ultimate litmus test for how effective you are as a leader.  Nothing exposes leadership like a leadership transition.

> Read more from Will.


Want to learn more about pastoral succession? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Heath

Will Heath

Will Heath is a unique voice on the topic of succession planning. He has served the local church for over 20 years in a variety of ways: serving bi-vocationally, as an Executive Pastor and consultant. His ministry and professional background have afforded him rare, front-row access to succession plans at various stages of development and implementation in the business, ministry and nonprofit community in Dallas, TX. In 2010, Will commissioned (and personally funded) a national survey of 600 pastors on the issue of retirement based transitions. In 2012, he began speaking at conferences and consulting with ministry leaders in the area of succession planning. Will joined the Auxano team in 2015. He leads the initiative to help ministries understand how to effectively navigate seasons of leadership transition. Will lives in the booming metropolis of Murphy, TX with his wife Ali and their two girls. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching high jump for their local summer track club, disc golf (RHBH) and volleyball. In 2014, Will had the honor of being selected to serve as a Board Member for Christar, a missions agency that plants churches in the context of least reached people groups.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Your Succession Journey: New Coaching from the Clarity Thought Leaders at Auxano

Auxano’s succession planning service is designed to help ministry leaders navigate the following questions.

What leadership transition process makes the most sense for our situation?

There are three basic ways leaders transition. We refer to these as the Stop-n-Go, Intentional Interim, and Overlap. Each is a valid option, but used for different reasons. Knowing the pros and cons for each will help you make an informed decision in selecting the option that best fits your unique situation.

What types of questions should we be asking as we develop our succession planning strategy?

There are five critical areas every succession planning strategy needs to consider.  Developing a plan that addresses each area (we refer to them as “Signposts”) impacts the overall health and effectiveness of your strategy. The five Signposts are Pisgah (see Deut. 3:23-28), Teams, Search, Authority, and Ceremony.

How prepared are we, from an organizational structure standpoint, to navigate a season of leadership transition?

It’s not uncommon for things that have no direct correlation to the succession planning strategy itself to cause significant disruption. For example, a lack of documentation in your governing documents can become the basis for confusion and possible division. With appropriate planning there is no need for this, or other areas, to become a stumbling block.

How do we prepare and lead our people through a season of significant leadership transition?

At its core, succession planning is about preparing so they know what to expect during a season of transition.  Having an intentional strategy won’t alleviate every challenge, but will go a long way in soliciting their commitment through the process. This is an important way to fight the tendency for people to become disengaged.

Auxano will guide you through a journey of “Checkpoints” to develop your comprehensive succession planning strategy. Our Succession Journey will help your team navigate the core issues outlined above in a thorough, meaningful way.

Read more from Will.


Want to know more about our Succession Journey? Contact us to start a conversation.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Heath

Will Heath

Will Heath is a unique voice on the topic of succession planning. He has served the local church for over 20 years in a variety of ways: serving bi-vocationally, as an Executive Pastor and consultant. His ministry and professional background have afforded him rare, front-row access to succession plans at various stages of development and implementation in the business, ministry and nonprofit community in Dallas, TX. In 2010, Will commissioned (and personally funded) a national survey of 600 pastors on the issue of retirement based transitions. In 2012, he began speaking at conferences and consulting with ministry leaders in the area of succession planning. Will joined the Auxano team in 2015. He leads the initiative to help ministries understand how to effectively navigate seasons of leadership transition. Will lives in the booming metropolis of Murphy, TX with his wife Ali and their two girls. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching high jump for their local summer track club, disc golf (RHBH) and volleyball. In 2014, Will had the honor of being selected to serve as a Board Member for Christar, a missions agency that plants churches in the context of least reached people groups.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Critical Conversations in Succession Planning

When the topic of succession planning first landed on my radar (early 2007) there were very few ministry leaders that would entertain the conversation.  This was true at both the denominational and local church level.  There just wasn’t a sense of urgency on the topic.  Fast forward to 2016, and the tone has changed considerably.

As this conversation has come to the forefront of leadership thought and conversation I have noticed a concerning pattern develop.  The term “succession planning” is being used as a catch phrase for what is actually five distinct conversations.  This creates a challenge in implementation as there are multiple agendas attached to the same word.

To bring clarity to this conversation we are launching a series that brings codified language to to help distinguish what people mean when they reference “succession planning.”

Here are the five different conversation of succession planning.

  • Succession Planning as Protecting Organizational Continuity
  • Succession Planning as Emergency Transition Management
  • Succession Planning as Leadership Pipeline Development
  • Succession Planning as Proactive Exit Planning
  • Succession Planning as New Leader Hiring

Succession Planning as Protecting Organizational Continuity

When navigating a intentional leadership transition careful thought and energy is focused into what I refer to as the “7-Year Window.”  This is the period of time that extends anywhere from 3-5 years before the current leader formally transitions to 2-4 years after.  The time preceding the current leader’s formal transition is spent planning, preparing and implementing a transition strategy.  The time frame after the formal transition date is focussed on settling into life with a new leader.

A brief survey of ministries in the “Succession Planning as Protecting Organizational Continuity” reveals several high level questions that ministry teams wrestle with.  Here are five of the fifteen most commonly asked questions during this time.

  • Do we have a clear sense of what makes us unique?
  • Do we need to address issues related to our governance structure?
  • What impact will the transition have on our giving?
  • What is the best way to involve our people in the process?
  • How can we ensure the successor starts well?

Succession Planning as Emergency Transition Management

Emergency Transition Management is a formalized process of making key decisions before an unplanned transition presents itself.  I estimate that 80% of the decisions that need to be made in the wake of an unforeseen transition can be decided ahead of time with the right tools in place.

Succession Planning as Leadership Pipeline Development

Most secular organizations use the phrase “succession planning” almost exclusively to reference their process of identifying and developing employees that have potential for increased levels of responsibility.  Leadership development in a nonprofit context is generally weighted towards equipping volunteers to manage various aspects of program implementation.  Increasingly, local churches are focussing on building a leadership culture that equips people to serve both inside and outside their programming structures.

Succession Planning as Proactive Exit Planning

Exit planning conversations in the business world tend to revolve around issues related to asset valuation, ongoing ownership structures, and liquidity events.  In a nonprofit setting, both secular and sacred, exit planning revolves around funding deferred compensation and determining what a key leader’s area of focus will be once they have transitioned out of their current role.  This often involves developing a platform to facilitate ongoing coaching, mentoring, or consulting activities.

Succession Planning as New Leader Hiring

Ministry leaders often use succession planning as a reference to the search process.  Efforts here focus on the developing a profile, identifying and vetting candidates and negotiating offers.  Some churches will engage in a professional search firm while others will manage the process on their own.

Many Elders and 2nd Chair leaders feel uneasy about talking with the Senior Leader about their eventual retirement.  Conversely, many Senior Leaders become very defensive when the topic of “succession planning” is mentioned in reference to them.  This is often tied to the fact people are defining succession in terms of search.  In my experience, having language that allows the succession conversation to shift from “search” to “Intentional Leadership Transition” or one of the other three conversations highlighted is all that is needed for the senior leader to engage the process.

Read more from Will.


Do you have questions about starting the succession planning conversation? Talk with an Auxano Navigator to learn more.

Download PDF

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Heath

Will Heath

Will Heath is a unique voice on the topic of succession planning. He has served the local church for over 20 years in a variety of ways: serving bi-vocationally, as an Executive Pastor and consultant. His ministry and professional background have afforded him rare, front-row access to succession plans at various stages of development and implementation in the business, ministry and nonprofit community in Dallas, TX. In 2010, Will commissioned (and personally funded) a national survey of 600 pastors on the issue of retirement based transitions. In 2012, he began speaking at conferences and consulting with ministry leaders in the area of succession planning. Will joined the Auxano team in 2015. He leads the initiative to help ministries understand how to effectively navigate seasons of leadership transition. Will lives in the booming metropolis of Murphy, TX with his wife Ali and their two girls. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching high jump for their local summer track club, disc golf (RHBH) and volleyball. In 2014, Will had the honor of being selected to serve as a Board Member for Christar, a missions agency that plants churches in the context of least reached people groups.

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Pastoral Succession is a Family Matter

I was recently on the phone with a pastor that wants to start the process of succession planning. Our time on the phone was another reminder of how personal the issue of succession planning is.

Our call started out like so many others. He and the Executive Pastor gave me the background of the church. They listed some of the issues they think need to be addressed over the next five to seven years. They asked for my initial thoughts and other questions related to how I go about helping churches like theirs. We talked for about 45 minutes before his Executive Pastor had to leave for another appointment.

Once it was just Bob, the Sr. Pastor, on the line I took the opportunity to get a little more personal. I asked a simple question…

“How are you and your wife handling the idea of your eventual retirement?”

The tone completely changed!! The initial part of the call was all about organizational priorities. Now, we were able to start digging into his personal motivations.  Here is a summary of what we talked about:

  • He wants to stay involved with the church after he retires
  • The fear of hurting people by not transitioning well is a significant motivation
  • What will he do next?
  • His wife’s transition is just as important as his
  • He is wondering what their financial future will look like

Succession Planning is bigger than hiring the right person, developing leaders or making sure the organization doesn’t lose momentum.  Don’t get me wrong – these things are important. But in the process of addressing the organizational side of succession planning we must be careful not lose sight of our opportunity to help the retiring leader wrestle through their personal fears and concerns.

> Read more from Will.


Let me know if there is any way we can serve you in this season. Let’s start a conversation.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Heath

Will Heath

Will Heath is a unique voice on the topic of succession planning. He has served the local church for over 20 years in a variety of ways: serving bi-vocationally, as an Executive Pastor and consultant. His ministry and professional background have afforded him rare, front-row access to succession plans at various stages of development and implementation in the business, ministry and nonprofit community in Dallas, TX. In 2010, Will commissioned (and personally funded) a national survey of 600 pastors on the issue of retirement based transitions. In 2012, he began speaking at conferences and consulting with ministry leaders in the area of succession planning. Will joined the Auxano team in 2015. He leads the initiative to help ministries understand how to effectively navigate seasons of leadership transition. Will lives in the booming metropolis of Murphy, TX with his wife Ali and their two girls. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching high jump for their local summer track club, disc golf (RHBH) and volleyball. In 2014, Will had the honor of being selected to serve as a Board Member for Christar, a missions agency that plants churches in the context of least reached people groups.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Bible Truths to Help You in Succession Planning

I’ll never forget my very first observation about succession planning.

Succession planning is personal long before it becomes tactical.

This was the “big idea” God used to get my attention in this area. A mentor of mine trusted me enough to open up and talk through the fears he had about his eventual retirement. At the time he was over 10 years away from retiring. The conversation was personal and left a deep impression.

Since that moment, this principal has become a primary filter for serving leaders in seasons of transition.

I like what Marshall Goldsmith wrote in his book Succession, Are You Ready.

“Academic” literature generally ignores the fact that CEO’s – and their successors – are human beings. Very little of what is written deals with the “soft” personal issues like relationships, self-interest, ego, or (God forbid) feelings! – Preface: Memo to the CEO, page XIV

His book is written to those in the “C” Suite, but his comments apply to leaders in both secular and sacred nonprofit organizations.

To help you process the personal side of succession planning, here are five biblical passages to read and reflect upon. Take one at a time. Read them slow and in context. Reflect on specific, personal applications. Record your thoughts in a journal. Pray with your spouse.

A Pattern to Follow – Numbers 8:23-26

This is the only passage in scripture that speaks directly to the topic of retirement based transitions. It is God’s instruction to Moses on how to manage the Levite work force as they age. The insights in this passage stand as a stark contrast to how retirement is viewed by those of us living in a western, capitalistic culture.

A Lament to Wrestle With – Ecclesiastes 2:18-21

It seems understandable, natural even, for the leaders that invested their lives to build something would lament the fact that someone else would eventually step into their shoes. Solomon’s concerns expressed in this passage seem to resonate in the hearts of many leaders today.

A Change in Identity – Deuteronomy 3:23-29

Mount Pisgah marked a profound shift in Moses’ identity as leader. Climbing the mountain, his primary identity as leader was centered around leading Israel into Canaan. Coming down, his primary focus was preparing Joshua and Israel for the day he would no longer be with them. A careful look at verses 23-26 reveal this had been something Moses struggled with for quite some time.

A Desire for the People – Numbers 27:12-23

Numbers 27:12-23 and Deuteronomy 3:23-29 are parallel passages that provide different insights into the same moment – God confronting Moses with his need to implement a succession plan. Even though Moses experienced great frustration in leading Israel, this passage spotlights his genuine concern for their well-being. He was concerned more for their future in his absence than his personal legacy.

A Passion to Protect – 2 Kings 20:16-19

To truly appreciate this specific passage you must read the full account – 2 Kings 18 – 21:9. Hezekiah’s story stands as a profound example of how zeal and passion can diminish over time. At 25 he had the audacity to destroy the Bronze Serpent that Moses build some 700 years prior (2 Kings 18:4). By the end of his career he was willing to trade his personal comfort for the future of Israel. His zeal was gone.

As you study this passage pay special attention to 2 Kings 20:6 and 2 Kings 21:1. God extended Hezekiah’s life 15 years and moved the nation into a season of peace and prosperity. It was during this time his son, his successor, was born. Manasseh was 12 when he became King. The son’s perspective of God was shaped by his father’s leadership while in a season of peace. He never knew his father as man that depended on God. One can’t help but wonder how much that played into his attitude towards God during his tenure as King.

A Prayer of Reflection – 1 Chronicles 29:10-19

This is the last, or one of the last, recorded prayers of King David. Unlike Hezekiah, David’s passion for the Lord burned bright to the very end. It is not the words of this prayer that make it unique. It is not so different that many other prayers of reflection that can be found throughout history. No, what makes this prayer special is the point in David’s life in which he uttered it. Indeed, there are certain prayers that can only be voiced by those who have given their life, their length of days, to the service and glory of God.

I pray these passages would serve as both a source of encouragement and warning as you reflect upon the reality of your eventual transition.

Succession planning isn’t the last great thing you will do as a leader.  Succession planning is the gateway to your greatest season of influence.


Let me know if there is any way we can serve you in this season. Let’s start a conversation.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Heath

Will Heath

Will Heath is a unique voice on the topic of succession planning. He has served the local church for over 20 years in a variety of ways: serving bi-vocationally, as an Executive Pastor and consultant. His ministry and professional background have afforded him rare, front-row access to succession plans at various stages of development and implementation in the business, ministry and nonprofit community in Dallas, TX. In 2010, Will commissioned (and personally funded) a national survey of 600 pastors on the issue of retirement based transitions. In 2012, he began speaking at conferences and consulting with ministry leaders in the area of succession planning. Will joined the Auxano team in 2015. He leads the initiative to help ministries understand how to effectively navigate seasons of leadership transition. Will lives in the booming metropolis of Murphy, TX with his wife Ali and their two girls. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching high jump for their local summer track club, disc golf (RHBH) and volleyball. In 2014, Will had the honor of being selected to serve as a Board Member for Christar, a missions agency that plants churches in the context of least reached people groups.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What Process Do You Have in Place for Succession Planning?

Here are five common questions leaders wrestle through when trying to decide what their succession planning process should look like.

Q – WHAT DO YOUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS REQUIRE?

Don’t expect a lot of guidance here.  Most Constitution and Bylaws only speak to replacement planning and are silent on the broader issue of succession planning.  Consequently, the selection of a broader succession planning process is influenced by other factors.

Q – WHAT IS THE REASON YOU ARE YOU DEVELOPING A SUCCESSION PLAN?

An unexpected transition may push you towards one process option while a planned transition would push you towards another.  The “Intentional Interim” is often the process of choice in emergency transition situations.  The “Stop and Go” and “Overlap” options work well when you have time to plan ahead.

Q – WILL THE CURRENT LEADER STAY ENGAGED IN THE MINISTRY AFTER RETIREMENT?

If so, you may lean towards the “Stop and Go” or “Overlap.”  The answer to this question will also influence how you account for each of the five Signposts as you develop your succession planning strategy.

 Q – HOW “HEALTHY” IS YOUR MINISTRY?

Some ministries have a healthy culture.  Other ministries, however, face significant challenges. Healthy ministries tend to implement the “Stop and Go” or “Overlap” options while troubled ministries tend to utilize the “Intentional Interim.”

 Q – DO YOU NEED AN OIL CHANGE OR AN OVERHAUL?

If you are happy with your programming methodology the “Stop and Go” or “Overlap” will more than likely be your go to options.  If you sense the need for a fundamental change in direction you may consider the “Stop and Go” or “Intentional Interim.”

Getting key stakeholders to agree on this question can prove difficult.  This is why we recommend starting the succession planning process as early as possible.  Giving your team enough time to prayerfully evaluate key areas and work through issues is always a good course of action.

The three Process Options referenced above are the Stop and Go, Intentional Interim and Overlap.

Click HERE for a brief description of each.

> Read more from Will.


 Do you need to know more ideas about succession planning for your organization? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Heath

Will Heath

Will Heath is a unique voice on the topic of succession planning. He has served the local church for over 20 years in a variety of ways: serving bi-vocationally, as an Executive Pastor and consultant. His ministry and professional background have afforded him rare, front-row access to succession plans at various stages of development and implementation in the business, ministry and nonprofit community in Dallas, TX. In 2010, Will commissioned (and personally funded) a national survey of 600 pastors on the issue of retirement based transitions. In 2012, he began speaking at conferences and consulting with ministry leaders in the area of succession planning. Will joined the Auxano team in 2015. He leads the initiative to help ministries understand how to effectively navigate seasons of leadership transition. Will lives in the booming metropolis of Murphy, TX with his wife Ali and their two girls. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching high jump for their local summer track club, disc golf (RHBH) and volleyball. In 2014, Will had the honor of being selected to serve as a Board Member for Christar, a missions agency that plants churches in the context of least reached people groups.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Quotes and Questions from Leadership Network’s “Succession” Online Conference

In a very real sense, all pastors are INTERIM pastors. At some point you will not hold the current position you find yourself in at your church. It is only temporary. And that means that there is a 100% chance that you or your church will be a part of a succession or transition!   – Leadership Network

And according to Lyle Schaller, “The larger the church, the longer the tenure, and the sharper the growth pattern, the more crucial is succession and the more difficult to work it out.”

Change is hard. And leadership succession can implode a church if not handled with extreme care and planning.

Leadership Network tackled the issue of succession in an online conference on January 21 entitled “Succession.”

For over four hours, pastors from churches of all sizes and faith backgrounds talked about the transitions they went through. Some were planned and thought through for years. Others were emergency transitions made necessary due to untimely death or a moral failure.

Here are some of the best quotes from the day:

His decision to pass the torch moved the congregation from uncertainty of the future to anticipation of the future.

Jay Passavant, Founding Pastor, North Way Christian Community

 

If it’s not successful, it’s not succession.

Jerry Hutchins, Founding Pastor, Kingdom Now Ministries

 

Five things to consider during your church’s transition:

  1. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord of the church.
  2. Make God supreme in your transition.
  3. We need to take human sin seriously. We knew we could get this wrong
  4. We want to serve and love people.
  5. We needed to believe the Gospel.

Jason Meyer, Pastor for Preaching & Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church

 

When I need the church more than the church needs me, I’ve stepped over the line.

Don’t let the applause of people be more important than the applause of God.

Gene Getz, Founding Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church

 

The biggest surprise for me has been the speed at which God has worked at Eastside. You cannot underestimate the spiritual component in successions.

Gene Appel, Senior Pastor, Eastside Christian Church

 

I love the church so much that I dare not love you to death.

Jonathan Alexander, Senior Pastor, NorthShore Baptist Church

 

I can’t do it. But You can. So God… do it today.

Jonathan Falwell, Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church

 

In succession, you have to know the difference between wants and needs. I told the church, this will either fail miserably, or God is going to do greater things here than ever before.

Jason Gerdes, Lead Pastor of Revolution Church

 

You’re writing a death warrant for yourself if you try to do succession alone.

Three groups of people you’ll find when you step into a church in this situation:

  1. People that will trust you because you are their pastor. They will be your greatest source of encouragement.
  2. People who want to trust you, but they’ve been hurt by abusive past leadership. They will trust you over time, but you have to earn their trust.
  3. People that have been hurt before by church leadership, and the think it will always be the case. They will make your life miserable because there’s nothing you can do to earn their trust.

Succession should look like 4×100 relay. The hand off happens at full speed instead of when you’ve run out of energy.

Brady Boyd, Senior Pastor, New Life Church

 

Our story is just as much about submission as it is about succession.

Succession planning is good. Succession development is great. Skill sets can be developed that will help with succession, and that’s just as important as the implementation of the ‘plan’.

Jason Bolin, Senior Pastor, Trinity Chapel

 

Not everyone will be excited that you’re there. Most people will smile, not everyone will be happy. In fact, people will be suspicious of whether or not you’ll be able to fill the shoes of your predecessor.

Jonathan Stockstill, Lead Pastor, Bethany Church

 

Talk about the vision. Over and over. Talk repeatedly about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Andre’ Butler, Senior Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center

 

If a church is always looking to its past, there is no current compelling vision.

We celebrate five-yard plays, not touchdowns. We strive to honor the past without being held captive to it.

Mike Erre, Senior Pastor, First Evangelical Free Church

 

Absolute clarity and alignment of the vision is the foundation for our DNA, which is bigger than our leadership at any given time.

Michael LaMonica, Elder, Willow Creek Community Church

 

Questions You Should Be Asking When Looking Ahead to Succession

  • Is Jesus enough for you in YOUR transition?
  • What is your relationship with the person who will take over for you? (Or, what is your relationship with the person you’re taking over from?) Mutual respect and admiration, communicated well and often, will be a great asset to your church during transition.
  • If you’re getting ready to pass the baton, how well have you ‘positioned’ your church for the future (and the future leader)?
  • What could be done by you right now that could give your successor a head start on where God wants to take your church?
  • It’s easy to get discouraged when you try to carry the weight of a succession on your own strength. What part of your succession plan do you need to turn over to God?
  • What do you think you know that you really don’t know?
  • Succession discussions don’t happen in five minutes. Are you allowing your leader the time and space that he/she needs to working through the emotional and spiritual preparation for succession?
  • If you’re considering passing the baton in the near future, are you really sure that’s what God wants you to do? Are you sure you’re not just tired and need a nice vacation or extended sabbatical?

There’s really only one remaining question to consider:

Does the church you lead have a succession plan?

 

For more information on succession from Leadership Network, go here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
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Clarity Process

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