Wisely Passing on Leadership

December 9, 2022

Recently I’ve started handing over some of my responsibilities to other members on our team. And while I’d love to tell you I’m super chill and awesome at letting go – I think the whole team will tell you indeed I am not. I really struggle balancing a supportive posture and micromanaging. 

This act of letting go really is where we as leaders come to understand the most basic principles of our discipleship journey. Galatians 5:22-23 reads,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Inevitably as we raise up leaders, there will be a moment in which we are called to step back completely and turn over our responsibilities to the one who comes next.

I love the story of leadership exchange between Elijah and Elisha; but also as an aside, I think it’s important to do a better handing over of leadership than just being sucked up by the wind.

Anyways, my point is that as we raise up leaders, it’s critical that we’re focused on our own awareness and discernment, reflecting the Spirit even in our own steps toward handing over a leadership position. I also believe the best handoffs happen when a plan is made, consulting both the leader you are developing and those around you to discern when the timing is right. 

What seems to be the most challenging for leaders who are in transition is staying focused on the task at hand. Mostly because their meaning and purpose has shifted. No longer are you driving, but you are coaching. This shift in both mindset and position is key! New leaders cannot simply be abandoned when they step fully into their leadership seat. Ensuring that they have someone to walk alongside them for the long haul is a key part of transition! And phew, does it take a humble leader to be able to help the new person.

I will name that this tends to be harder for reformed folks mostly because we encourage leaders to take time away from the congregations that we have served. Notice though, this rule is not taking time away from the leaders we raised. If it is a desire for your team to continue receiving coaching – by all means, have at it! 

I hope by now, whether you’re a leader just starting out, or well seasoned in your ministry, you have caught the vision! You are never done leading. Your purpose is always something you will continue to lean into the spirit of God to discover.

And, even when you’re tempted to just press the cruise to retirement button, your leadership skills are needed all the more! 

How have you wisely passed on leadership? Let us know in the comment section.

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