Thursday, March 1, 2012

Succession Planning

Several months ago Crystal Cathedral announced they were laying off 50 workers, canceling some of their television shows and putting some property up for sale.  While the economy has hammered all of Southern California, the slide for Crystal Cathedral began a few years earlier when Robert Schuller handed the reins over to his son.  After disagreements over vision, his son was later forced out and Schuller's daughter took over. It has been one of the worst leadership transitions for a mega church ever. The only one comparable is the difficulties experienced at Coral Gables Presbyterian, James Kennedy's former church.

While I do not pastor a mega church nor am I a high profile leader, I am a pastor and I have to think about succession.  Who will take my place when I am become disabled, retire or die?  Am I training my successor? Am I doing my job in a way that someone else could step in seamlessly? How am I preparing next leader up for success?

Jesus spent his entire ministry preparing the next generation of leaders. The majority of his time was spent training a very select group of men in servant leadership, ministry and discipleship. He knew His time was limited and when He left needed someone ready to lead in His place.

To not be thinking about succession is short-sighted and selfish. Whether you are the guy who sweeps the floor, the lady who hands out the bulletins, the secretary who schedules appointments, the staff member who leads a ministry, or the pastor who preaches the sermon, your time is limited!  Someone else will be doing your job very soon. How are you preparing them for success?

The leader who fumbles succession has failed a very important responsiblility.

To that end, my eyes are wide open all the time for potential people that God may be raising up.  While there are plenty of people who are currently positioned for increased leadership responsibilities, I’m thinking more long-term than that.  It's a real possibility that PCC’s next senior pastor and pastoral team are 20-to-30-something year olds within our congregation right now.  They need to be identified, cultivated, nurtured, trained, and accepted by our church family to facilitate a future transition.

No comments: