Recently I had to leave a church and ministry that I loved. As I was preparing to leave I start thinking how I, and the ministry, could have been better prepared for this transition.
I’ve heard it said that you will missed about as long as your fist will leave an imprint in water inside a bucket. Now, I don’t completely agree with this, but the point is that the show WILL go on. Certainly people will remember and miss you. There will be things that you did that will out live you, but someone will stand in the gap and take over where you left off. Still, there are some things that we can and should do to help make this transition as easy and seamless as possible. These will also help to ensure that there is as little momentum lost as possible during the transition.
- What am I working on NOW? As I prepared to leave I had to take some time to think about the many different things that I was working on. Keep a list of the projects that you are working on so that you can easily hand them over to someone else and report on the progress of each.
- What do you do regularly? Another thing to consider is the things that you do on a weekly or monthly basis. You may not even think about them anymore, but when you leave someone else is going to have to do them.
- What are you getting ready for? As a leader there are always things that you have coming up. You may just be gathering information at this stage, but these are things that someone else is going to have to take over after you leave.
- Who are you training to replace you? No I’m not saying that you need to be training the person that is going to take your position when you leave. But, there are some things that you do that someone else should probably be doing. For instance at the church I just left I led children’s church. I planned it, led worship, and did the teaching. My son even ran the sound system. I intended to train others to take parts of this, but never did. So, what things are you doing that you should be training someone else to do?
- What have you been putting off? We all have those projects that keep getting set on the back burner. Most of these are not pivotal to the survival of the ministry, but can add value. Look at these. Consider if they might need to be given a little greater urgency. Talk with other leaders to see if maybe you are missing the importance of these things.
- What needs to be finished? If you have seen the movie Up, then you can understand me. I get distracted about as easily as the dog Dug from the movie. For this reason I often have many partially completed projects around. Are there things that you have started that you just need to take a day or two and get finished? You don’t want to hand over any half finished projects to your successor if you can help it.
You may be reading this and thinking that you aren’t planning to leave anytime soon so this does not pertain to you. I would have thought the same thing less than 2 months ago. I was certain that I would be at that church for years to come. However, God had a different plan. The point is, even if everything is going well and God is blessing your ministry, you never know where God is going to lead you next, or when. So, you need to be prepared.Matt Norman
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