Multiplication Center

How Ready Are You for Succession?

May 30, 2019

Leadership Network has been a pioneer in helping church leaders pass the leadership baton to a new generation.

Almost 20 years ago, a pioneering Leadership Network book gave thought leadership, inviting greater discussion to begin. It was aptly named Elephant in the Boardroom: Speaking the Unspoken about Pastoral Transitions. More recently, I conducted surveys for Leadership Network, sadly documenting on how few church leaders had gone so far as to develop a succession plan. I summarized what we learned in a Leadership Network report named “Succession Readiness.” I also used the Leadership Network database of large-church lead pastors to calculate an average age (see graphic below). Just as the US population is aging, so also are large-church pastors.

The most-quoted statement in the book Next: Pastoral Succession that Works by William Vanderbloemen and myself, is this: “Every pastor is an interim pastor.” The idea is that no matter how long we’re privileged to serve in leadership, someone else will follow us. And just as our Lord Jesus himself placed a huge emphasis of time and energy on preparing those who follow him, wise leaders will do likewise. The case-study based book, drawing from more than 200 interviews, zeroes in on how to do pastoral succession well. Leadership Network addresses this and other issues in its Leadership Development Accelerator. Check it out.

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