transition points

Bob Russell has set the bar high for us in a number of areas.

Humility. Class. Longevity of ministry.

Oh, and that whole growing a church from 50 to 20,000 thing.

He also modeled transitioning well, from the first leadership team discussions about succession planning in 1999 to the memorable “baton-passing” during his last service as Southeast’s senior minister in 2006.

Bob shares the story of this journey, the lessons learned, and suggestions for other leaders in his new book “Transition Plan.” The publishers mailed me a review copy recently and I’m glad to share it with you as an excellent resource.

Rick Warren has praised Southeast’s transition from Bob to current senior minister Dave Stone as the only perfect one he’s seen, but this book is helpful because Bob also shares some of the things he would have done differently.  He admits the occasions he struggled and the principles he followed.

“Some ministers feel the choice of their successor should be left up to God and that any effort at a transition plan is a presumption on God’s will,” he writes. “But we don’t take that same approach to other transitions. We make out a will for our children, we train someone to take our place at work, and we mentor assistant coaches in athletics. Why would we give less attention to the Kingdom of God?”

Bob showed us how to grace-fully hand your life’s work to the next generation. Whether you’re a minister or a business leader, you can learn from his example. I have a second, autographed copy of the book which I’ll give away to one of you—just leave a comment on this post by 5 p.m. EST on Thursday. Tell me about the transition you’re involved in, the one you need to be planning, the one you mishandled, or what you’ve learned in this area. If you really have nothing on topic to share, offer a suggestion of what I should be for Halloween this year. (I’m stuck. Why does every Halloween outfit for women involve short skirts and plunging necklines? But that’s another post.)

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