There is a day every leader has to face. But, no leader necessarily wants to.
I have walked through this with dozens of leaders over the year sand it’s never a fun process.
It’s the day when it’s time to no longer be the leader.
Just seeing it in print may sting a little if you know the time has come for you — but you haven’t yet said it aloud.
It could be for a variety of reasons. Still hurts.
Could be retirement. A season has ended. Or, you’re no longer the best fit to be the leader.
Either way — wrestling to this point is a difficult, sometimes grueling decision.
It’s one I’ve faced in my own career. In our last church plant, I knew God was releasing us to something new. That didn’t make it easy. I couldn’t even see what would happen next. I just knew my season there was ending.
Some handle this well. Some resist it and don’t. Some kick and scream and it has to be forced upon them. Never pretty.
A pastor friend of mine Shawn Lovejoy seems to be doing a brilliant job of leaving the church he planted. I loved the message where he shared it with his church.
My friend and co-worker Dan Russell, our senior adults pastor, got to a point at his church where he sensed they needed someone different to carry them to the next level as a church. It was in his season of wrestling God brought him to my attention. He was still young, with (hopefully) years ahead of him in his career, but he sensed it was time to step aside. And, God rewards obedience. As hard as it must have been for him to come to his realization, his addition to our team has been one of the best things to happen in my tenure. I can’t imagine the last few years without him here.
Recently I learned of two other mega churches where the senior pastor stepped aside — sensing it was time for a change. Both seem to be handling the transition well. I’m going to follow them to see how it goes.
Yet, we all know stories of when it didn’t go so well.
They stayed too long. They became ineffective. They made the transition more difficult than it had to be. And, I’m convinced it makes things hurt even more.
There’s a day every leader must face, but no leader really wants to face it.
The day when it’s time to no longer be the leader.
Listen, leader, here’s some advance caution for you — before that day approaches. That’s my only purpose of this post.
When you no longer have the passion.
When you just don’t care anymore.
When things are plateaued beyond your ability to move them forward.
And, when you simply can’t seem to get motivated again.
I’m not saying it’s time. I’m not saying there are not answer or solutions or help for you to stay in the position. I’m not even suggesting any of these are indicators you should leave now. That would totally be out of line and inappropriate for me.
I’m simply saying — there comes a day — for every leader. Discerning and determining the day before the day is determined for us protects everyone. The organization. The church. And, the leader.
(This is not a paid endorsement, but I recommend my friends William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird have written a great book on pastoral succession called NEXT when the time comes.)