In a recent Harvard Business Review article, I read that many Fortune 500 companies are incorporating a practice called Succession Planning. This process starts with high level executives within a corporation and putting them through a series of “tests” to begin preparing them for the possibility of potentially moving into the role of CEO once the current executive officer moves on or retires.
Even though the process is quite a bit more complex than how I defined it, it made me think about what Jesus began to do early in his ministry when he went out and gathered the disciples together. He spent quite a bit of time preparing and praying through the men that he chose to be His apostles. Then three years were spent investing into their lives and teaching them everything that they would one day need to know. Then when he ascended into Heaven they were left with a pretty hefty task ahead of them:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)
What if Jesus would have done things like some organizations? What if he never took the time to sharpen the “next guys”, the guys that would ultimately be responsible to continue the teachings that He started? Some people have the mindset of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” The problem is that sometimes we don’t realize that something is broke until it is too late.
As leaders we should be promoting the fact that “The Kingdom” is bigger than us. We should be developing the leaders that are under us to develop the leaders that are under them. In a practical sense, if something happens to me then there should be someone that is capable to step right up and continue the process of Kingdom building without a hesitancy with what needs to be done. Whether it’s a pastor, Sunday school teacher, discipleship training coach, assistant, welcomer, door holder, or nursery worker the kingdom must continue.
So how are we doing? Are we developing those that are under us and creating an environment that produces leaders developing leaders? Or are we creating a system that relies completely upon ourselves?