Gracefully Passing the Baton


For those of you that like to read Barna’s stuff this is a must read for us boomers. One of the things I hope to accomplish in my ministry before I call it quits is to make sure I nurture the guys coming up behind me. I dream of putting in place a planting ministry that is not a profit center for my church, not an over priced revenue generating machine just to fill the till. I dream of a time when I can fully fund a training center for younger guys.

Some of the things I have learned over the years in the business world is we need to develop up and coming managers, we need not feel threatened by guys that are brighter than us, we need not seek all the glory, we need not think the “business” of church is something we should cherish. We need to reach out and develop the bench.

I have seen in business that the most successful leaders are the ones that really do develop a strong support team, one of the best I remember was when I worked at MBS Textbook Exchange, the President of the company was a driven man, a smart man and a absolute dynamic man, he asked questions that he full well already knew the answers to but he wanted to see how we reacted and answered, he would ask the same questions throughout the day but never the same way twice. He always asked about the revenue numbers from some of my accounts but he already knew the answer, sometimes I would want to jump out the window because he would never stop. I learned a major lesson from him though, he built leaders, I am a product of his molding my work ethic, I am thankful. Jim was my regional manager and he was just as tough on me , but I am a better man today because of him.

Some of the things I picked up from Dan and Jim I will use now in my ministry.

  • In the business world, most leaders do not develop their own replacements, they leave it to chance or the board to select whoever comes behind them, Dan developed a fantastic team of managers and salespeople, they in turn were groomed for the job of taking up some of the slack as the company grew and they in turn developed their replacements. Planters and pastors need to do the same, do not keep it to your self, let others lead.
  • Developing others is a process not an event, it will take time, your time.We need to find the time to train and lead others to go into the field and plant.This process starts long before the planters go into the field, they should be nurtured starting as soon as YOU notice their strengths, they might not even know about ministry or planting but you see something in them , it is your responsibility to develop the bench !
  • Lead pastors are the driving force in the development of other planters
  •  What can we do
    1. Find resources to provide training for those future leaders
    2. Match up guys doing ministry with guys that show an interest in doing ministry, do not let their improvement and development be impeded by your lack of self worth or esteem.
    3. Develop a long and short term objective and be willing to adjust your strategy to react to the community/culture you are working in, Led Zeppelin was great in the 70’s but may not be as great in the current time. Keep the centrality of the Cross but react to the culture in order to point to the Cross.

Much of the development can not be passed off to others, it needs to com from the lead Pastor, it is you that had a clear vision about your ministry, it is you that needs to instill that not only into your congregation but it needs to be really infused into those guys that you hope to send out.

I know it is not easy to balance all the responsibilities and manage all the needs in life, family , church, but it needs to be done, you will not be there forever.

Some key components of successful leading involve

  • Determining where your ministry should me in both the short and long term, this involves more than wishful thinking, it takes a strategic plan, a vision of where you want to be in 2-5-10 years, and who you want to take along with you.
  • Train yourself and those closest to you to identify those young men and women that surround you. Pour your resources into them, help them identify their gifts. Teach them to pray, teach them the behind the scenes stuff, they do not need to know all the interworkings but they do need to see the good, bad and the ugly, and how you address all of those issues.
  • Do not make it all a rose garden, let them know about the problems they will face.

Chuck Smiths ministry was built on relationships and from nurturing from within, they found a way to successfully train up men from within the Calvary Chapel movement. I am 100% sure the best people come from within your own congregation, they know your vision, they understand your style and with a long term commitment of the leaders in your church your skill set can be passed along.

That critical moment happens when one of your young men comes to you and sends out those signals that he might be interested in ministry, you need to be ever diligent to pick up on those signals, you can either crush a seeking spirit or start them on the road to service of Christ.That is the very moment that your leadership starts, don’t miss the opportunity .Pull the conversation out of them, let them pour out the vision they have, do not downplay it no matter how silly it sounds.You need to teach them how to turn their ideas into ministry opportunities.

Let these guys experience the mistakes they will make, you need to let them fall a few times but you need to make sure you are there to show them how to overcome them, the best thing you can teach them is to pray before, during and after the decisions are made.Let them develop a track record of successes and failures and a history of how Jesus will be with them throughout both.

Just some train ride random thoughts


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