Pastoral Succession

Published in SATS ‘Pastor to Pastor’

During the 2012 Leadership Summit Bill Hybels spoke about how he and his elders had recently embarked on a leadership succession process. He mentioned that there are thousands of mega churches around the world who are currently led by pastors in their sixties. In his opinion, most of these churches are in for troubled times because few have considered passing the leadership baton and even fewer know how to do it. I have no way of gauging how accurate his information is, but one thing is obvious; leadership succession, like death, is inevitable. Therefore, all churches, big and small, need to give serious attention to how to transition from retiring to younger leadership.

I am 65 years of age and for the last two years or so I have been engaging my eldership on how we are going to transition the church when I retire. To exacerbate the situation, our other senior pastor is due to retire in two years’ time, just when I am planning to scale down my involvement. Because we are currently dealing with the realities of leadership transition I thought that it might be useful if I wrote an article for the benefit of other churches in a similar circumstance.

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