Succession has emerged as one of the major issues facing the church in the next decade. Businesses are not that far behind in struggling with succession. Most senior pastors (especially founding pastors) hang on too long. The question is why.
In a candid and disarmingly honest interview, Amplify Founding Pastor, Lee Kricher, and his successor, Jason Howard, talk about how they paved the way not just for the next generation of leader, but for the next generation of church, allowing the model to change while the leadership changed. In the midst of it, they both get very real.
Welcome to Episode 283 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Registration is now open for the Future Forward Conference. Join Carey in Pittsburg, PA on October 1-2, 2019.
Next: Pastoral Succession that Works by William Vanderbloemen
3 Insights from Lee & Jason
1. An emergency successor can be a powerful tool for leading through succession
Many bylaws in churches call for a congregational vote every time there’s a change of pastor. This can cause chaos and division within the congregation because those who vote against the incoming pastor often feel like they need to leave since God didn’t lead them to vote for their new pastor. This was how Lee and Jason’s church was structured as they came in.
One of the first things Lee did when he took over was to change those bylaws to say that it is the senior pastor’s role to name an “emergency successor” at all times. Once the board approves this successor, they are the designated successor moving forward and it is the senior pastor’s role to train them for the role. They no longer need to take a congregational vote for transitions. This saves a lot of time, energy, and division.
2. There are 2 major reasons transitions fail
The first major reason transitions fail is because the young guy doesn’t stick around. If the young leader gets impatient, they will often get angsty and feel like they need to use their call and anointing to lead a church. So rather than staying until it’s their turn, they go and plant a church and take some people with them.
The second major reason transitions fail is that the senior leader doesn’t want to leave. Many pastors have the mindset of “I’m going to stay in this church until I die, and then it’s God’s problem.” This is such a sad way for pastors to finish. Both Lee and Carey recommend that pastors transition leadership earlier than they think they should.
3. No matter what you are feeling inside through transition, your outside actions must honor the other person
The thing that made Jason and Lee’s transition work so well is their deep relationship with each other, and their commitment to publicly honor each other no matter what is going on behind the scenes. Before they started the transition process, Lee and Jason made a commitment to always respect each other no matter what disagreements they had to work through.
Lee and Jason also made an early decision to always put up a united front to their staff, volunteers, and congregations. This kept their staff on mission rather than worried their senior leaders disagreed on something. If Lee and Jason ever had a disagreement about the direction of the church or how they should be leading it, they had those discussions behind closed doors where the staff had no clue the disagreement was happening.
Quotes from Episode 283
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
Get Your Church Growing (Again…or for the First Time)
Getting a stuck church growing, or helping a church that’s reaching new people grow even further can seem daunting.
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Next Episode: Marc Serrao
How do you build a world-class bakery in a village of just six thousand people? A bakery so popular it creates traffic jams with people from across the country wanting to get in? You break all the rules and create your own business model. Marc Serrao shares the story of how he started Oakmont Bakery, his radically different philosophy, and why even if you show up minutes before closing, you’ll find his store stocked full of fresh baked good, instead of empty and picked over.
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