Review and Quotes from “Next – pastoral succession that works”

NextMy home church, Christ Fellowship, is in the first stages of pastoral succession. Our lead pastor, Greg DePriest, has been with the church for 25 years. He is a visionary, leader, theologian, discerner, pastor and so much more. As he moves to the next phase of life, we desire to carry forward as a fellowship seeking to “equip individuals to be all God designed them to be.” Identifying the next pastor is something we take seriously. After much thought and study, we chose to retain the services of Vanderbloemen Search Group. This organization has a tremendous reputation for helping churches navigate the succession process. Next is a book, written by their founder – William Vanderbloemen, to help give insight and an overview about what to expect along with several best practices. The book has proven to be of great value to our team.

A few quotes from the book include:

“Thinking about what’s next before they have to – that’s what marks the greatest leaders.”

“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re dead.”

“You shape your future more than you realize.”

“Specialists who can’t become trainers or who aren’t willing to become trainers will eventually put a ceiling on the growth of your church or bust your budget.”

“A boy becomes a man when he begins to consider how he will be remembered.”

“When a second-generation leader steps into a first-generation role, it’s often best to bring a new team into that position.”

“Is the question of pastoral succession always bigger than ‘Who will our next pastor be?’ Is the more important question, “Should our church have a long-term future?”

“When you’re ready to begin naming specific potential succession candidates, the best starting place is usually to look at ‘family’ members, which are more formally defined as internal candidates. This is especially helpful when the church is healthy, growing, and wanting to continue its current DNA, mission and path forward.”

“Another issue involves internal staff who want to be considered for the senior pastor role you are vacating. The most common approach is to frame it like this: internal candidates can apply, if policy allows, but if you don’t get the job, you resign.”

“Even in unhappy separations, they are apt to offer a severance payment higher than the one-month-salary-per-year-of-employment level often paid in marketplace severances.”

“It is not unusual for a larger church to continue paying the full salary of a founding pastor who has served the church for several decades of continual growth, especially if that pastor has spent an entire career at the same church and made minimal to no financial preparation for the future.”

“Smart churches will compile an exhaustive list of expenses and then set aside appropriate funds before considering a succession plan.”

“Your church cannot be great if it cannot be great without you.”

“When the past is honored, future possibilities are unlocked.”



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