Saturday, January 21, 2006

Success and Successor

A friend picked up a copy of Ethix, a newsletter/journal for The Institute for Business, Technology & Ethics. In it I found an interview with Mike Volkema, chairman of Herman Miller. In response to a question about his transition from CEO to chairman, Volkema said "my personal belief is that there isn't success without a successor." Many attribute the proliferation of this axiom to Peter Drucker.

I've been thinking about how this little truism applies to church leadership. Some of the questions that come to mind include:

  • How could this axiom work within the context of my denomination's polity and folkways?

  • What role should the current pastor have when working with a board?

  • Do we choose, rather, to say "there is no success without succession"? Is that a better posture?

  • Should a pastor be limited to working to replicate leadership in general, mentoring leaders for other (or new) churches, or could a pastor have a hand in selecting and mentoring a specific successor?

  • Is the axiom biblical? It certainly seems to be described in the context of the ministry of Moses, Jesus, and Paul... are these instances merely descriptive or are they prescriptive?

In the coming days I'll post some of my thoughts along these lines. Feel free to chime in with comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This week the issue of succerssion came up in a Central Oregon church. Their school is wildly successful: growing market share, positive and growing community buzz ... a problem I brought up was a lack of succession planning. This thing will deflate in a New York minute if the charismatic leader is removed from the equation. So, absent a succession plan what lasting impact is left for the kids, the community and the Cause of Christ? Limited at best.