One day you won’t be leading the ministry you’re leading right now. What are you doing to get your ministry ready for that day?
It might sound ridiculous to say this, but the first day you take a new position, you need to start preparing it for your last day there. Why? You don’t know when your next transition is coming. It could be 6 years or 6 days from now. What would happen to your ministry if God’s hand suddenly began to move you without warning? I believe we will be held accountable, not only for how we lead our ministries right now, but also for how we prepare our ministries for the future when we’re no longer there (Hebrews 13:17). So, what are you doing right now to prepare your ministry for your departure?
I recently just transitioned out of leading a ministry in Texas that I had led for over 6 years, so transition has been on my mind a lot lately. Based on what I’ve learned, here are a few practical things that you can do:
1. Share the stage.
Ministries that have one preacher/teacher more often than not (based on my observation) tank when that preacher/teacher leaves. I am becoming more and more convicted that as preachers and teachers we need to share the stage!
Honestly, I didn’t do this one well. Part of my reasoning was pride. Part of my reasoning was passion for preaching the Bible. Part of it was that sharing the stage was never modeled for me before.
Some other reasons to share the stage:
- We have a responsibility to develop the next wave of pastors. It’s hard to do that if you don’t eventually start sharing the stage with them.
- Sharing the stage helps protect our hearts from pride, especially if people love it when you teach.
- Your body, your soul, and your family will be healthier if you share the stage because preaching and teaching is taxing!
2. Empower people to lead.
This is different than sharing the stage. Start giving your ministry away as soon as possible. You might not be able to do this day one, but I can tell you that in less than two months of being in my new role, I am already doing this. If your young adults see it as their ministry instead of your ministry, they will take ownership in the transition. They will be just as concerned about it as you are. They will see the future health of the ministry as their responsibility, just as much as it is your responsibility.
There are a lot of ways you can empower people to lead. The key is, find ways to do it and do it as soon as possible.
3. Preach the Bible.
This might seem dumb to put this here, but it’s not. Preach the Bible! Woo people with God’s Word, not with your personality or anything else. If you leave, but they love God’s Word, your absence won’t be as big of a deal because they are in love with something that will still be there long after you’re gone.
Obviously, this is not an extensive list, but for me it is a very personal list.
So, what are you doing right now to prepare your ministry for your departure? Is your ministry ready for the day God moves you away?
Austin Wadlow and his wife, Lesley, live in Iowa where he serves as the Teaching Pastor and Salt Company Director at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow