It’s awkward. It’s sad. It’s sometimes hurtful, sometimes joyful.
Pastor Succession is Necessary
When a pastor moves on to a new call in ministry or steps down from his or her current role without a plan in place it can leave the local body left in a whirlwind of confusion. Who should replace the pastor? Do we hire a search committee? How long has the pastor known he would be leaving?
Rumors can start and words can fly off our tongues like fire if we’re not careful.
All of this can be prevented.
All of it.
Authors William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird bring an offering that is so desperately needed in the world of ministry succession. Far to often a church can wrap it’s identity up in it’s senior pastor. The reality is that this pastor will not always be in place. He will either leave for one reason or another – good or bad – or die. The question that is left is who will fill those shoes?
I had the privilege of working at Thomas Road Baptist Church, founded by the late Jerry Falwell. I had been on staff for only a few months before his sudden passing. The days that followed were hard. There were many who came to pay their respects. Jerry had left a big legacy. The questions of what would come next were answered so quickly it left me spinning. In about 48 hours Jerry’s sons Jonathan and Jerry Jr. had taken lead roles in both the church and Liberty University respectively. Jerry had a plan of succession in place. He realized that Liberty University and Thomas Road were about more than one man. If they were to survive beyond him, a plan had to exist.
This is the basic premise of NEXT. The need for a biblical mentoring and discipling process of succession is glaring if the local church is to last beyond it’s founding leaders. NEXT is a breath of clear hope in the midst of starting these systems in place.