Succession planning has become an important conversation, especially for many of today’s megachurch ministries. However, making sure you have people in place to handle each role in case a staff member leaves — voluntarily or otherwise — is important for every church. And it’s much broader than just the senior pastor.
For example, if your business administrator leaves, you could lose a lot of historical knowledge if you don’t have a plan in place. If your communications director leaves, does someone else have the social media passwords? In fact, the lack of effective succession planning is also one of the most common reasons we see churches end up out in the weeds with their church management systems. Here’s the bottom line: The impact of people moving in and out of our ministry is far greater than we realize.
Three reasons to have a succession plan for every ministry role
- Without a plan for replacing key leaders in your ministry, the momentum of your ministry could stall or fail. Churches that rely on a key leader to serve as the face of the ministry put a lot of relational equity in that person’s interest and ability to lead the church. Your church might not ever be able to replace the work or potential of your current leadership team. However, you’re putting your ministry potential at risk for serious decline without a proactive plan.
- When someone leaves, there is a gap. Likely, there are responsibilities that still have to be fulfilled between the time the search for a replacement begins and when the replacement is found and fully functional. This is where we have to get our egos out of the way and realize that, at some point, God can (and will) use someone else to perform this role.
- Investing in the next generation of leaders is key. Another way to look at what can be a hard topic is to realize that if you prepare someone to replace you, you’re ready to take on a higher level of responsibility. As your church grows, the challenges that require skilled leaders also increase.
Are you putting your church at risk by failing to think about succession?
You don’t get a merit badge for carrying the load alone. It is egotistical to think that the ministry can’t continue without you. Real leaders plan for the future by empowering other leaders to serve effectively. If you want to learn more about how you can prevent succession or other potential risks from impacting your ministry, download our free resource Are You Putting Your Church at Risk?