Why on earth would you think about succession, especially if you’re a young leader?
Well, one of the hallmarks of great leadership is replacing yourself. Second, there is no success without a succession plan for any leadership role.
William Vandenbloemen explains why finding your replacement is an essential part of great leadership at all ages in all positions, and explains how to do it.
Whether you’re leading a small business, a large corporation, a church or a non-profit, replacing yourself and finding a successor are keys to any leader’s success.
Welcome to Episode 19 of the Podcast.
Links Mentioned in this Episode
Transition Plan by Bob Russell
3 Things You Can Do Right Away
Discussing succession within church leadership doesn’t have to be a negative experience.
There are many stories in the Bible that are catered around succession – Even Jesus spent his last days with those he wanted to spread the Gospel.
Here are three things you can do to be prepared:
1. Start the conversation. From day one, leadership in the church needs to start thinking about what succession looks like in all areas of ministry. According to research conducted by William’s firm, U.S. and Canadian pastors, on average, go through 3 or 4 pastoral transitions throughout their careers. In fact, William points out that every pastor is technically an interim pastor, no matter what position they hold.
Keep this in mind – Having a successor in place doesn’t make you less valuable; it makes you more valuable to the church. If you’re concerned that succession planning could cause conflict among church leadership, or if your pastor isn’t willing to have the conversation, look for an outside source that may have greater leverage to get the process started.
2. Develop a plan for picking a successor. There is an age curve in the work force that’s described as the “double humped camel.” The large hump represents the Baby Boomers, many of whom are retiring. The people in the middle represent the Gen-Y’ers, and the second hump is representative of Millennials. This generation gap has created a scarcity of people for upcoming opportunities, something William compares to finding a match for an organ transplant. It’s like hiring an outsider to come inside the body to run a major organ system, and the trick is finding a “donor list” (candidates) of good tissue matches.
Have a plan for what this process looks like within your church, because William emphasizes that it’s really easy to find the wrong person.
3. Don’t overstay because you’re afraid to tackle the issue. While there are exceptions, pastors tend to stay too long in their position. That trend is most common among senior leadership. Not only will pride sometimes hinder a pastor’s succession, but board members don’t want to go into “ministry battle.”
The reasons for overstaying are myriad. Many times, the senior pastor has married or baptized the family of his fellow board members, and to avoid conflict, succession is never discussed. Senior pastors also struggle with losing their identity and losing their income. They can’t afford to retire, and they have no other way to identify themselves. William says that the smartest young professionals are those who spend their younger years creating options for their later years. Smart pastors will start to develop an avocation, and smart church boards will free up the pastor to pursue that.
It all begins with starting the conversation.
Quotes from William
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Next Episode: Frank Bealer
Feel like nobody owns the mission like you do? Frank Bealer from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina shares how they have motivated thousands of volunteers to own the mission as much as staff do to help grow the church to over 18,000 people in 8 years.
Subscribe now, and you won’t miss Episode 20.
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