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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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 >


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.

See more articles by >


What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
— Jonathan Schultheis

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.