A Look into the Succession Planning Process
A few weeks ago, several members of the Succession Planning Committee shared a bit about who they are, their involvement with Northland, and some steps that the committee has been taking. If you missed it, you can find it here!
I’d like to take the time to do the same by sharing a little bit about my family and a little more about the process we’ve been going through. I’ve been a part of the Northland family since 2006 and my wife Kaley has been here since the early 2000’s. We actually met in room 4205 upstairs during a Financial Peace University class. So I say that Dave Ramsey helped to change my life in more ways than one! I started on staff in October 2015, one month after our wedding. Since then, we’ve welcomed two amazing daughters to our family, Kate and Paige. I currently serve as the Missions Director.
When I was invited to join the committee, I immediately felt a sense of being unprepared for the task ahead. But when I looked through the list of committee members, I really felt a sense of peace. Because on that list, I recognized a cross section of Godly men and women with unique giftings. Although I knew this would be a process that would stretch us, I realized that if each of us focused on our unique gifts and abilities, we could create a healthy collaborative environment. This would allow us to focus on our strengths and defer to others when it was clear to do so.
Overall, I have been encouraged by each step of the process. From the beginning, committee chair Dr. Nick Maroulis made it clear that we had to be dependent on prayer. Our rhythm of meetings communicated this by meeting one week for business and the next week for prayer. God has honored that time of us listening and pleading for wisdom and guidance.
Another vital element before we began was Pastor Gus giving each of us an incredible resource to read, Next: Pastoral Succession That Works. I have become accustomed to Pastor Gus handing me books to read, but this one was incredibly timely for our journey. Reading it, gave us a sense of the road ahead. This described how the opportunity ahead of us didn’t just include a job search for our next leader. The most recognizable quote in the book is, “Every Pastor is an Interim Pastor.” Now I know this can be a scary phrase to hear on the surface, but this is the mindset of healthy succession planning. This means to focus on leadership development in a way that allows for a healthy environment to continue when transition occurs. This relates to our next leader, but can also be implemented in every area of our church. So this book allowed for each of us to have a common starting point. Some common language that allowed us to wrestle with ideas in a productive manner.
After the first few meetings, we broke into work groups to accomplish some policies and plans that will set us up well for various transitions in the future. This was a process to reflect, think through, and wrestle with big picture ideas. This was new territory at Northland for many of us. Ecclesiastes 3 explains how there is a time for everything. And this was the time to put some of these policies and plans in place for future decades. I recognize that we are in a unique time, in more ways than one, so we appreciate the prayers, the faith, and trust that has been displayed while we have been processing through this work.
We are coming to a close on the specific deliverables of policies and procedures. The intent is that succession planning becomes a part of who we are, so this ongoing work will be handed off to the Human Resources staff and HR Committee. The next step will be the formation of the Pastor Search Committee over the coming weeks. This smaller group will come from the Succession Planning Committee and will take the key outcomes of our work, like the job description and other plans, and put them into action. But our work of prayer continues. As a Succession Planning Committee, we are moving to a weekly prayer time. We recognize that our work for prayer must continue as we collectively call out to God in dependence and trust. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and will provide like He has in the past.
As I’ve been reflecting on the last few months, I have appreciated the urgency we have felt without rushing the process. We have made prayer a priority and we have seen the fruit of this during our conversations. I have marveled at how each member of the group has been honest and open about their ideas and desires, but have been willing to put opinions aside for the will of God.
As a reminder, you can join us in praying by using our ‘A Call to Prayer Guide’ for this process.