by Kenneth Young, Faith & Leadership, Duke Univeristy, 7/7/20.
… Can you imagine working alongside the leader who would eventually turn the controls over to you? What would our churches, nonprofits and other organizations be like if we created such a model?
I see the apprenticeship idea supported by 2019 Barna research,(link is external) which says that planned transitions “tend to produce positive outcomes” — yet reports that 51% of incoming pastors said there was no plan in place when they arrived, and 33% said the lack of planning caused problems as they took the helm.
An apprenticeship model would allow the established leader to shape and mold the new leader, or at least work with that leader before stepping down. Institutions are well served when such a model is put into action.
For example, Bishop Paul S. Morton, the legendary gospel singer and pastor who founded the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, stated publicly how he would transition the fellowship to new leadership — noting that he did not want to die in office — and then worked directly to apprentice now-presiding prelate Bishop Joseph Walker III, ensuring a smooth, successful transition.
Biblically, Moses trained Joshua to lead the Israelites into their next season. Elijah trained Elisha, and Jesus trained the 12 disciples for at least three years to spread the good news around the globe. If we take this model seriously, our churches, nonprofits and institutions will benefit.