August 1, 2021
Scripture: Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” Numbers 27:15-17 ESV
Observation: A pastor’s exit plan is one of the most challenging and critical phases in his or her time of service. I have witnessed a couple of poorly executed transitions that had left a leadership vacuum and consequently stymied growth for several years. Protocol often calls for a search committee to bring before the elders and/or congregation their top candidates. And each step is supposed to be covered in prayerful discernment, but impatience sometimes sabotages the process. Still, as Moses contends to God, it is not good for the flock to be without a shepherd. It is critical to assign one or more members of the pastoral team to act as interim shepherds.
Takeaway: That’s the church, but what about in our homes and workplaces? The same applies. As parents, we need to thoughtfully plan for the launch of our children into adulthood and for leaving them a legacy at life’s end. Similarly, as bosses, we need to develop a transition strategy for our areas of supervision. And it begins with earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer and discerning his direction with each step. For our children, we keep asking that he surround them with a godly community of believers who will support, encourage, and hold them accountable. For the workplace, we persist in asking him to raise a replacement for us and grant us discernment and wisdom in recognizing his choice. Is it foolproof? No, we live in a fallen world, but his grace abounds.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to prayerfully seek your will in developing our exit plans for each stage of life and labor. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling