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Succession Planning In Children's Ministry

Let’s be honest. The term “Succession” doesn’t really make a children’s ministry leader jump for joy. If it does, congratulations! You are part of an anomaly. Sure, everybody knows they will eventually pass the baton in theory, but who has time to think about that when you’re running an entire department? Besides, you’re in your prime. You’re not ready to give your job away just yet. Shouldn’t you be focusing on succession when and if you’re ready to go?


Succession planning in children’s ministry should never be put off until later but should be prioritized as soon as a leader hits the ground running. Children’s ministry leaders would be well advised to identify a protégé that has the potential to replace them. Like Moses handpicked Joshua, one of the most significant contributions of your ministry is to train up the next generation of leaders. This means you should always be actively looking for opportunities to train them, acclimate them to the challenges of ministries, and expose them to the requirements and demands of leadership.

As important as we all would agree this is, one question still remains. Why are we so bad at it? For far too long, people have associated succession with being replaced. Questions begin to arise, such as: Do I still have value? What if people view my successor as better than me? One word about succession, and it’s as if you’re a cow being put out to pasture, and all you can hear is Mooooooooove on! This simply isn’t true because, well... you're not a cow.

“Dynamic children’s ministry leaders offer superior service to their departments while simultaneously being sensitive to the next generation of children’s ministry leaders that follow them.”

Those who have mastered succession don’t see their successors as threats but as a part of their own legacy. Consider, for example, Paul’s relationship with Timothy. Far from competition or threat, Paul’s desire was to cultivate and prepare Timothy for his next season of ministry. We should all be just as intentional in ensuring that when we pass from the center stage, we leave behind us a team of Timothies to continue the work in our absence. To do otherwise is simply limiting the reach and effectiveness of the work we were called to do.

Who in your environment are you actively training up to carry the mantle?

For more on this topic, get your copy of Children’s Ministry In Crisis Today!

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