Succeed A Lead Pastor…
Sometimes it happens where a staff member or key volunteer of a good church is just merrily going about their ministry… and then the lead pastor resigns, and they are called upon to succeed the lead pastor. Boom!
Transitions in churches happen all the time, and generally, the church just starts through the process of looking for their new lead pastor. But sometimes the search goes differently. It goes internal.
By internal, I mean, the board may say to a staff pastor, “Hey, we think you should be in the mix to be our next leader.”
Or that kind of suggestion can actually be made to a key volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding leadership capacity and probably either has or has begun the process of seeking ministerial credentials of some sort.
People can initially feel flattered that they are being asked to succeed the previous lead pastor. At the same time, some will feel angst, wondering whether they are up to the task.
If a transition of this sort really does come together here are four key considerations for the new lead pastor.
4 Tips to Succeed a Lead Pastor
1. Remember the calling.
First, it is important to remember that it is the Lord who calls the pastor. While the church board is instrumental in praying, seeking the mind of the Lord and stimulating conversation, it is the Lord who calls.
The new lead pastor has to remember it was not the board who called them nor was it their stunning pastor abilities that called them. It is the Lord who divinely called the new lead pastor.
2. Honor the previous pastor.
In all cases, honor the predecessor. Even if the predecessor left on less than desirable terms, ALWAYS honor the predecessor. God uses completely imperfect vessels. And He did just that with the former lead pastor. And remember, even though you can do things better, you’re human, too.
3. Be delicate in change.
One of the greatest challenges for a new lead pastor desiring to move the church forward is addressing the things/programs/initiatives of the past that have the former lead pastor’s fingerprints all over them.
The new lead pastor must chart the course for the future and while doing so, honor the past with regular statements like, “We love what God has done through this ministry, but I think we all agree we should not do that ministry one day beyond what God wants for us.”
Say this way in advance of ever shutting down something the former lead pastor has started. Then the new lead pastor should nod their head up and down until everyone in the room is doing the same thing. By doing this, when the time comes to shift from what was done in the past to doing something new in the future, the church will be ready.
4. Be humble.
In all things the new lead pastor must be humble. Humility will cover a multitude of errors. No new leader wants to make mistakes, but mistakes will happen.
When humility engulfs the new leader, it helps the church not respond with, “Well, when ‘Pastor So and So’ was here we didn’t have these kinds of mistakes.” New lead pastors must be humble.
If new a lead pastor who succeeds the former pastor will adhere to these four things, they will see the best forward movement in their new leadership and vision for the church.