Over the past few weeks I’ve been filling in for a pastor on sabbatical. I’m in Juneau, Alaska as part of a team of five pastors who’ve served this church (and their pastor) for the past several months. Each of us brings a different style and area of ministry focus.
It’s a healthy church body and my role is primarily working with discipleship and developing leaders. In my opinion, I’ve got the gravy job. Most of the nuts and bolts ministry work was done before I got here. So I’m thankful for my fellow Poimen Ministries pastors, including those serving in other places.
This third and final post, in a series on leadership transition, is a combination of questions and thoughts to help you look toward and plan for a good transition of leadership.
Leadership Transition—part 3
As with part 2, this will mostly be questions to consider, and these will focus more on the one coming into a leadership role or position. Although it can be looked at from a younger leader’s (pastor’s) perspective, there are good things to ponder for those of us who’ve been in leadership for quite a while.
Do you cast a shadow, or are you in the shadow?
- If you’re a founding leader or pastor– What are you doing now to provide for a smooth transition for whoever will follow you?
We have the example of King David setting things up for Solomon, but we also have Jesus.
And don’t forget the apostle Paul, who wrote most of the epistles of the New Testament, especially those called the Pastoral Epistles—1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul has much to say about discipling and raising up leaders!
- If you’re a new leader or pastor– What model of leadership are you following? That of Jesus, or someone you’re trying to emulate?
I served as a missionary and pastor in the Philippines for fifteen years. Another pastor and I served as interim pastors at a local church, and my friend recruited a young Filipino pastor to serve at our church. I had the opportunity to help this young pastor get settled as the new senior pastor.
He was discipled well by another American missionary-pastor, so he was equipped to teach and he also led worship. But, I encouraged him to develop his own vision for the church, and with his own style of leading.
His mentor had a strong personality, so I was concerned the younger pastor would tend to emulate him. He followed that advice and developed into a strong pastoral leader and teacher. He is also committed to discipling other leaders within the church.
- Are you following a founding pastor? If so, what are you doing to help the people of the organization or church adjust to a different leadership style and personality?
- Are you starting out fresh with a new vision and direction?
- What are you bringing along with you as a leader from your own experience, good or bad?
King David had a vision for the Kingdom of Israel while he was king, and saw beyond his own reign. Because of his passion for God he wanted to build a temple, but this was not God’s plan. So King David set things in place for the temple to be built by his son, as well as the transition of leadership (see 1 Chronicles 22).
- Has God given you a fresh vision for leadership?
- Can you articulate this vision clearly so others can see it with you?
- Has God revealed His plan for how this vision is to be implemented and fulfilled?
- Have you sought out counsel from more experienced leaders?
- Are you moving forward with your own ideas as it seems best to you?
- Are your plans based on borrowed ideas from someone who’s “successful”?
Some final thoughts
Hopefully, along the path of leadership, we can learn how to make good transitions, so others may follow well. If you want the top 10 ways to lead, observe the master leader, Jesus! No one can improve on His methods, nor match His example.
With Trip Kimball’s permission this is a repost from his blog, Word-Strong. Along with his family, Trip planted a Calvary Chapel in 1978 and in 1990 took them to the Philippines as missionaries. There in Asia he was used by God to not only establish Rainbow Village for abandoned babies, but serve in equipping hundreds of national pastors and church planters. Currently Trip serves from his Florida home as a mentor with CCPN, as an integral part of Poimen Ministries and continues to equip leaders in the States as well as in missionary settings.