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October 10, 2017

Creating Succession at Every Level of Your Leadership Pipeline

By Todd Adkins

A critical part of leadership is recognizing that your fruit grows on other people’s trees.

The defining legacy of any leader is the quality of those you develop and your ability to transition out of your role. Every role in the local church is an interim role, and every leader is not successful until they have developed at least one successor.

Most churches and organizations plan for succession in their leadership pipeline. However, many only focus on senior leadership roles. Odds are strong that succession in all levels of your leadership pipeline occurs more often than you realize.

Has a volunteer or leader in your church ever:

  • Taken a job in another state?
  • Had a baby and stepped away from serving for a time?
  • Been promoted as a solid leader into a role with more responsibility?
  • Retired from a position?

If you answered yes to any of the above, your church already experienced succession.

Succession is not about replacement. Succession is about reproduction.

In far too many cases, we allow our thinking to shift into leadership placement over leadership development. When we focus on replacement, we not only dismiss the responsibility we are given as church leaders, we settle for warm bodies instead of weekly volunteers.

Far too often in our world and even in our churches, leadership is seen more as a position of power than a position of responsibility. Development within a leadership pipeline requires an investment of intentional time and effort. You can’t simply empower someone through email. Succession happens when your people are engaged by the mission, equipped to do it, and accept the responsibility to carry it out. Leadership development must occur up close, both shoulder-to-shoulder and eye-to-eye.

Ephesians 4:11-16 calls us as church leaders to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. If we do so, we will see unity in the body, maturity measured in the fullness of Christ, and a multiplication of ministry and ministers that hasn’t been seen since the early church. Leaders build an army, not an audience.

That’s why the LifeWay Leadership team is excited to host Pipeline 2017: Succession at Every Level.

On Thursday, October 12th, we will welcome pastors and church leaders to Nashville to examine the topic of creating succession at every level of a church’s leadership pipeline. Speakers include John Piper, H.B. Charles, Bob Russell, Thom Rainer, Leonce Crump, Eric Geiger, Tami Heim, Mark Jobe, and more.

Can’t join us in Nashville? Then enjoy the conference livestream for FREE! Pipeline begins at 10am EST on Thursday, October 12th. Tune in here.
Leadership development is both poetry and plumbing. Leadership is both vision that inspires and the systems and processes that deliver on that dream. We trust that Pipeline 2017 will inspire and motivate leaders but will also provide a blueprint, a practical plan of how to create succession at every level of a church’s leadership pipeline.


Todd Adkins

Todd Adkins (@ToddAdkins) is the Director of Leadership at LifeWay. Prior to LifeWay, Todd served as an executive pastor at McLean Bible Church. He has a background in launching strategic initiatives and scalable campus models to provide immediate growth while remaining financially solvent. During his time at LifeWay, Todd has introduced customizable, web-based leadership development through MinistryGrid.com. He is passionate about helping churches build a Leadership Pipeline and develop Training Pathways for every role in the church.


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