CNLP 547: Sean Morgan on the Succession Crisis in America’s Church, What Makes Pastoral Succession Successful, and Pro Tips for Outgoing and Incoming Leaders

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Nobody in the church today has the breadth and depth of experience as Sean Morgan does when it comes to creating successful pastoral succession plans. Sean and Carey discuss pro tips for incoming and outgoing leaders, what makes pastoral succession successful, critical mistakes outgoing leaders make, and the way forward in the pending succession crisis in the church.

Welcome to Episode 547 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.

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Art of Leadership Academy

A leadership transition is a pivotal season for any church—it can lead to a vibrant future OR it can ruin a great legacy, harm a congregation, and make the new lead pastor a sacrificial lamb.

If you are currently going through a pastoral transition or are preparing for one in the future, I’m sure you understand how complicated and challenging it can be, even when you know there’s a brighter future ahead.

Well, today’s podcast guest, Sean Morgan, and I have teamed up to equip pastors and churches to navigate these transitions smoothly and successfully. The Art of Pastoral Succession is our brand-new online course that combines real-world lessons, expertise, and wisdom to answer your toughest questions about succession.

Sean has mentored and coached hundreds of America’s most influential pastors through transitions, and as some of you know, I’ve been through a transition myself. A few years ago, I transitioned out of the Lead Pastor role at the church I founded and passed leadership on to my successor, Jeff Brodie.

From start to finish, we outline a step-by-step succession plan and timeline for your church to follow so you don’t make the same mistakes that so many churches do.

Visit to learn more.

If you join before February 1st, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive Pastoral Succession group that Sean and I are running. In the group, we’ll discuss key concepts covered in the course, have meaningful discussions about navigating your own transition, and pair up with pastors and mentors to lean on throughout the process.

Again, that’s to learn more. Join before February 1st to get in on the exclusive Pastoral Succession group.

He Gets Us

This episode is brought to you by He Gets Us, a national campaign all about raising the respect and relevancy of Jesus.

Are you preparing your people for Super Bowl Sunday?

He Gets Us will be running ads during the game, reaching the thousands who are planning to tune in.

Whether your church is hosting a viewing or you know of people in your church who will be having parties, it’s a great opportunity to start a conversation.

Go to to download resources to prepare your church for these conversations with curious viewers.

Conversation Links

The Art of Pastoral Succession

CNLP 467: Rick Warren on Finishing Well, Why Megachurch Pastors Fail, and Lessons Learned Over 42 Years at Saddleback

Ordering Your Private World By Gordon MacDonald

Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth By Samuel Chand

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Quotes from Episode 547

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 547

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Next Episode: Tim Keller

In a wide-ranging interview, Tim Keller talks about the decline of the mainline and evangelical church, how forgiveness and justice get mishandled during pastoral moral failures, the threat to liberal democracy, civil dialogue, and how nominal Christianity created consensus.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 548.

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If you're looking to lead a healthy and growing church, now you can get answers to your toughest questions directly from me:

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.