How Do We Handle Succession?

Are you thinking about succession? What will happen when you leave? Churches frequently don’t pay much attention to planning for future leadership. Sometimes a long-term pastor is understandably dependent on his or her role, and finds it too difficult to discuss the future. “Who am I if I’m not the pastor of this church?” may be a very real question. Another may be, “Who is this church without Pastor X?” Considering these questions over time as a transition approaches, or even before, personally and with key leaders, can be good for everyone’s growth. Pastoral leaders can feel vulnerable discussing this. We can wonder, what if they say, we’d be better off without you? But helping the church grapple with difficult questions about the future is part of leadership.

Churches are not the only organizations who struggle with succession. Here’s a fascinating article from the New York Times Magazine about the New York Yankees: “Oedipus Bronx”. And check out the story of King David’s sons to see how intense it can get (II Samuel 12-I Kings 2). It makes church life look easy.

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