Read a Book During Your Coffee Break

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We’ve all heard the saying that “Leaders are readers.” If you’re constantly pouring out what you know without taking in new material, your well of knowledge will eventually run dry. It’s not hard to convince people they should read more; the challenge is finding the time. The folks at Ministry Library have created a great […]

read a book during your coffee break

How to Improve Communication Between Departments

Whew, this last week was jam-packed here at Velocity!  I’m sure your church is in the midst of holiday planning, so you definitely know the feeling of looking back and wondering where the week went.  I wanted to get some actionable content out to you today, so I’m sending you to an article I wrote […]

How to improve communication between departments

What To Do When Tragedy Strikes

The horrific events in Paris over the weekend, continued tragedy in war-torn regions of the world, political and social unrest, and more have flooded the headlines and broken our hearts. There are so many questions that run through our minds in times like this… How could this happen? Why would people commit such evil acts? […]

What To Do When Tragedy Strikes

3 Questions to Guide Your Christmas Planning

With Christmas around the corner, hopefully your team started planning even before your local stores started putting up Christmas merchandise. Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on your plans or are just getting started, here are a few questions to help guide your Christmas planning: #1 – What are we trying to accomplish? It’s easy […]

3 questions to guide your Christmas planning

4 Productivity Tools You’ll Love

When you work behind-the-scenes in the church office, you’ve got plenty of plates spinning. Coordinating events, fixing a website issue, designing a flyer for the next outreach, plus a ton of other tasks are all in a day’s work. While I can’t reduce the length of your to-do list, I can recommend the following productivity […]

4 Productivity Tools

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I want to make sure I’m providing you with the information, tips, tools, and more that will help you become even more effective in ministry. In order to make that happen, I need to get to know you through this reader survey. Would you please take a few minutes to complete the survey? The information you […]

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Next-Pastoral Succession that Works

Next: Pastoral Succession that Works (Baker Books, 2014)

“Every pastor is an interim pastor.”

That statement kicks off a frank, yet compassionate book by Warren Bird and William Vanderbloemen. Written to pastors, with the church board in-mind as well, the authors address what can be an awkward issue of succession planning.

Let’s face it…unless the Lord returns while you’re the pastor of your church, someone else will eventually be the new pastor. It’s largely up to you to set this new pastor (and the congregation) up for success.

The book includes three main sections:

Part 1: Why Succession Planning Can’t Wait

Here the authors use extensive data, case studies, and supporting information to make the case for why succession planning is so important.

Part 2: Be the Exception

In this section, you’ll read stories of successions that didn’t work out very well and what we can do differently.

Part 3: Transition Well, Finish Strong

This is where you’ll find practical tips on how to find a successor, how much this process may cost, how to prepare for the next pastor, and more. The authors are clear that there’s no magic formula to this process, but they offer several suggestions based on research and experience.

The key principles I took away from this book include:

  • Pastors should begin planning for succession as soon as they become the senior pastor.
  • The details of how to plan for and handle pastoral succession are not “one size fits all.”
  • Succession planning isn’t simply an organizational matter with no Biblical basis or pattern to follow. Jesus trained the apostles; the apostles also trained new leaders to carry on their work.
  • Diligent planning and learning from experts does not mean we’re taking God out of the process. “Our sense is that God does use people and systems in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to help build leadership teams in the church.”
  • By planning for your succession, you help the church remain healthy into the long-term.
  • Succession planning should focus on what happens when you decide to retire, however, you should also have a plan should the unexpected happen (sudden illness, death, etc.).
  • This isn’t a one-and-done exercise. Once your leadership team has a succession plan in-place, revisit it annually to make sure you’re on-track.
  • Develop a leadership pipeline. This includes sharing the preaching and the leading with staff who have leadership potential. Become a mentor way before you’re ready to retire.
  • “…leaders who continually plan and pray for the next chapter for their church will almost always have a better ending and a brighter future than those who do not.”
  • Remember, this isn’t your church. As one pastor noted, “This is Jesus’s church, but he’s given it to me for the next season.”

If you’re the senior pastor and either don’t have a succession plan or the one you have hasn’t been reviewed in a while, this book is an excellent resource. You’ll find helpful tips for you, your leadership team, congregation, and successor.

If you’re on the church board, this book can help you figure out how to initiate this discussion with your pastor and working with him to develop a plan.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

10 Free (or nearly free) Ways to Appreciate Volunteers

A strong, committed volunteer team is vital to any church. They arrive early and stay late. They’re the smiling faces on a rainy morning in the parking lot. They make coffee, check-in children, lead small groups, welcome guests, and much more. Here are 10 ideas for communicating how much you appreciate them and that their […]

10 Free (or nearly free) Ways to Appreciate Volunteers

What To Do When Someone’s Mad at the Church

and understandably so

Have you ever fielded a call or email from a less-than-happy (okay, really mad) individual? Working in the Finance department of a ministry gave me several opportunities to handle those situations. People are kinda sensitive about money issues, you know. One instance stands out in my memory. I was talking with a mom who was […]

What to do when someone's mad at the church