Many leaders do not actively engage in succession planning; often times this is due to the short sighted nature of managing tasks and missing long term development of organizational needs. Founding pastors are no different, and often will enter the subsequent years before retirement with little to no plan for succession.
Succession planning is the process that empowers an organization to stabilize the longevity of key personnel with the intention of ensuring continued effective performance through the replacement of key people over time (Rothwell, 2010). Every founding leader has the desire to see the work they put into the establishment and growth of an organization last beyond themselves, however, there is seldom effort put into creating a succession plan to insure these wishes. In a recent survey, 44% of pastors admit their concern about succession is poor, revealing their anticipation for transition of choice is low, and they are not considering a transition beyond their control (Bird, 2015).
One way to increase the awareness of a founding leader for a succession plan is raise their sensitivity of the likelihood for crisis. With the lack of a succession plan, if crisis were to hit, the probability of the church to fall into disarray and possibly see the work of the founding pastor come to an end. Crisis is often a common impetus for change and may change the perspective of a founding pastor on the need to create a succession plan (Rothwell, 2010).
Bird, W. (2015). Succession Readiness Study: Landscape of Large Church Pastors (pp. pp. 1–6). Dallas, TX: Leadership Network.
Rothwell, W. J. (2005). Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within (3rd ed.). New York, NY: AMACOM.