Just after we purchased our current campus, the Church Board commissioned me to find my successor before my retirement. The goal was to go through a transition period where I would have the responsibility of assisting my successor assume the position of Senior Pastor of Evergreen SGV.
I reluctantly took on the mandate from the Board and began a season of waiting for the Lord to choose my successor. The first step was to seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to deliver the next Senior Pastor to me.
Why this first step? If we look at the succession models in the Bible it is not the role of the predecessor to choose his successor, but it is God’s role. It’s not the same as Finding Nemo or Finding Dory. It is a spiritual enterprise rather than a secular hunt. And, believe me, it is much better to leave the search in the hands of God, than in the hands of anybody else.
Let’s look at the example of the succession from Moses to Joshua in Numbers 27:15-23.
The search begins with Moses praying to the Lord. The account tells us “Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, ‘May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation…’” Numbers 27:15-16. Moses prayed and asked the Lord to appoint a successor because He is one who knows and understands the heart of every man.
It is important to embrace that the senior pastorate is a divine appointment and not just a job hire. If it is a divine appointment, then God has to be directly involved in the process.
Moses gave the reason why he made this appeal before his God. It was his heart’s desire “that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.” Numbers 27:17b. Moses asked for a successor so that the people would not be without a shepherd.
God heard Moses’ prayer and answered it.
Numbers 27:18 says, “So the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him’”. God appointed Joshua to be Moses’ successor. It was God’s choice; not man’s. God, however, instructed Moses to lay his hand on him. It was Moses’ responsibility to affirm God’s call on Joshua before the congregation and then, ultimately, transfer authority to him.
Our search came to an end on Sunday, February 26, 2017 after a season of waiting on and listening to the Lord. The church family overwhelmingly voted to call our Joshua. We now have a Senior Pastor in Waiting. He will be introduced at a 10:30 AM Joint Worship Service on March 12, 2017.
The Search for a Successor has come to an end and the journey begins.
Something to think about…