Succeeding at Succession

So Moses appealed to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the community….” – Numbers 27:15-16

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When we returned to the U.S. back in 2011, I immediately began searching for a ministry opportunity. One of the organizations I considered at the time was seeking new leadership to work under existing management in order to prepare for significant future growth. While it is common practice for a business or ministry to ready itself in this fashion (since it assures continuity and success beyond the life of those currently in place), it seems that many organizational leaders find it difficult to prepare for this inevitable transition. Why is this the case?

Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, because He failed to honor God before Israel at Meribah. Certainly, Moses allowed his temper to get the best of him, but perhaps he also forgot (or overlooked) the fact that Israel belonged to God. They were Yahweh’s covenant people and could never be the property of one particular earthly leader … not even Moses himself. After providing leadership for 40 years, he must have assumed some control that was just not his to possess.

The moment a Christian leader begins to think that his organization, business. or church is his own personal enterprise is the moment that the organization begins to decline. Many leaders fail to prepare for their future succession simply because they cannot let go of their present control. They wrongly believe that they own a legacy that rightly belongs to God. Leaders beware, the only things that endure are those things that we leave in the capable hands of a sovereign God.

The future ain’t what it used to be. – Yogi Berra

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