On the matter of transitions

There are too many leadership transitions to count happening in the Southern Baptist Convention right now, and we are reliably informed that there will be more SBC entities in search of new presidents before the Birmingham convention next year.

Something has been nagging us about leadership transitions.  Rather than a long post, we’re just going to say it plainly:

  • If you  “stay on” at your church or entity so that your successor will have an easier time with the transition, you are deceiving yourself, harming your successor’s ministry, and doing a disservice to your church or entity.
  • If you “stay on” at your church or entity for a period of 2 years or more after announcing your departure, you have an inflated anthropology, a bizarre ecclesiology, and an anemic pneumatology. Not even Jesus “stayed around” that long after the resurrection.  Time allowed for the first leadership transition of the early church: 40 days.  That worked pretty well, didn’t it?
  • If you feel the need to hand pick your successor — or if your congregational lay leadership or trustees invite you to do so — you are likely dooming both your successor and the church or entity to unnecessary and otherwise avoidable conflicts.
  • If you have been at your church or entity for 32 years and they are not “ready” for a transition, you have failed as a teacher and leader.  Doctors can perform open heart surgery with about 1/3 that many years’ training.  If 32 years of your leadership have not prepared them for a new leader, 34 years won’t make a difference.

That is all. Rant over.

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