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CNLP 196: Bryan Carter on What Makes for Successful Succession, Navigating 300% Church Growth and The Racial Divide in America

Bryan Carter was 29 years old when he was asked to be the successor to a pastor who founded the church 28 years earlier.

Much to everyone’s surprise, including Bryan’s, the transition went extremely well. Concord Church has tripled in size under his leadership, and Bryan shares why.

He also talks about the racial divide in America and how the church can respond.

Welcome to Episode 196 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.


Guest Links

Bryan on InstagramTwitter |

Links from this Episode

The Art of Better Preaching  opens next week. Enroll today!

CNLP 182: Cheryl Bachelder On How To Turn Your Failure Into Success, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s Meteoric Turnaround Decade, And How Servant Leadership Really Works

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

3 Insights from This Episode

1. Smooth transitions are possible when efforts are made from all sides

Longstanding churches can’t escape transitional seasons. It’s inevitable. So, why do most hold off on preparing for the difficulties that come with change? Smooth transitions are achievable when the church is set up for success. It takes efforts from both sides – old and new – to steward the process.

Senior leaders should find ways to implement succession throughout the lifetime of the church. Building a ministry centered on purpose over personality is key. If a church is standing because the community is infatuated with the charisma of the leader rather than the message of Christ, there’s a big problem at hand.

During transition, the rising leaders need to execute a disciplined, often excruciating amount of patience before jumping in to fix everything. Seek wise counsel, graciously invest in the people and learn about the history of your new home. Assessing and building on the existing culture will help you figure out where God wants you to take it over time.

2. Racial tensions will continue until leaders of every color get out of their comfort zones

Racism is not simply an issue for African American’s to deal with on their own. Leaders of every color need to stand together and address the issues of racial tensions in America. The church overall may have endorsed that a problem exists and that racism wrong, but it has failed to proactively engage unified efforts to end this hatred.

What’s the first step? Get outside of your comfort zone and enter into transparent conversations with people who are different than you. Change can begin in one-on-one, conversational spaces where both sides truly lean in, open up, stay engaged and, most importantly, follow through with solutions.

For inspiration, read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. His call to the church decades ago is just as relevant today.

3. Leaders are called to serve Christ wherever they’ve been placed

Sometimes leaders disconnect work from their faith – even in ministry.

Hold on to job titles loosely so that your identity is not connected to your role. Remember that wherever God has placed you, He wants to use you to advance His agenda, not your own.

Whether your role as a leader takes place in a church, civic or corporate setting, your job is to serve and honour Him.

Quotes from This Episode

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In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

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Next Episode: Mark Clark    

Mark Clark and Carey talk about their different approaches to preaching, how to reach unchurched people and how to preach to churched and unchurched people with Biblical integrity. Plus, Carey and Mark share some of their favourite insights from their brand new course, The Art of Better Preaching.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 197.

CNLP 196: Bryan Carter on What Makes for Successful Succession, Navigating 300% Church Growth and The Racial Divide in America


  1. on December 8, 2018 at 7:09 am

    There’s certainly a lot to know about this subject. I love
    all the points you made.

  2. Dudley Walden on June 15, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    When Bryan brought up Travon Martin (FL), Michael Brown (MO), and Eric Garner (NY) as evidence of racism against blacks, why did you not ask him about Micah Johnson who murdered 5 white cops in Bryan’s city of Dallas in the same time period because they were white? If there is ever going to be any reconciliation, it’s going to be from us operating under the same rules.

  3. […] Bryan Carter On What Makes For Successful Succession, Navigating 300% Church Growth And The Racial D… on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. […]

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