Each year, I have the honor to work with pastors and churches in transition to new leadership. It’s not difficult to work out the practical elements of a transition plan. The challenge comes in the transition we discover that the pastor, a member of the leadership team or the church, have not prepared their hearts for change.
Before you (if you are the primary leader making the transition) or your leadership team creates a plan of transition, invest first in your hearts. Let the loving presence of God’s Spirit reveal those things that could stumble the transition.
When I wrote the book, A Good Place, I wrote the book as a devotional tool to help church leaders process the heart issues of a transition before they created a transition plan. Some teams of church leadership have actually used the book as a staff devotional to help unpack the transition. Several pastors have taken it a step further inviting each team member to pick a favorite chapter and share their personal thoughts with the team. This has proven to provide ownership to a process that many times can appear too top heavy in its announcement and implementation.
The best of plans can get derailed because something unknown was on the tracks that caused an unexpected derailment in the transition process. We owe it to our churches and our organizations to do our transitions well. In the end, no transition is perfect. Some are just better than others. We want to invest in the better.