Reasons why successions fail in a local church

In his article at Christianity Today, Pr. Warren Bird surveys five ways a transition to a new pastor can fail.

Check out How Pastors Are Passing the Leadership Baton.

His list:

  • Pastors Don’t Let Go.
  • Pastors Wait Too Long.
  • Multiple Candidates Fight It Out.
  • Change Comes Too Quickly.
  • Pastors Hit Hidden Landmines.

The biggest issue I’ve observed is the new pastor pushes change faster than the church’s culture will allow or can absorb.

Quick change could be the goal of the new pastor. Could also be the mandate given him by the search committee. The congregation may say “help us grow” or “make us more outward focused” but not be ready for the trauma and turmoil that will involve.

If the congregation as a whole is not able to absorb the amount of change, there will be serious problems. I see that often.

This is called culture, or organizational personality, or corporate DNA. You can’t push faster than the culture can absorb, no matter how critical or desired the change may be.

Managing change is a major issue for any new pastor.

Check out the comments on each item, which are inside a longer article, which I described here.

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