Transitioning from one senior pastor to the next is a difficult and dangerous time for a church. I’ve watched a few of my clients walk through the transition. It is always difficult.
Pr. Warren Bird provides a superb introduction to the topic in his article at Christianity Today – How Pastors Are Passing the Leadership Baton.
He starts by quoting Rick Warren:
Every pastor is an interim pastor.
All pastors should be thinking about the transition to the next pastor. Unless Jesus returns really soon, every pastor in the pulpit today will have a successor.
The article describes four general ways the transition is handled:
- Family Plan
- Denominational Plan
- Process-Only Plan
- Intentional Overlap Plan
What works best will depend on the culture of the church.
However, planned versus accidental is the far better way to go, regardless of what the plan is.
Check out the full article if you have succession on the horizon at your church. It mentions several books that would be of great help.