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Replace Yourself

January 7, 2013 — 2 Comments

Passing the baton to a future leader

I love teaching and speaking to preteens. It’s one of the best parts of my job and something that I feel like I’m actually good at. That’s why it’s so hard for me to hand off those responsibilities to others.

I really admire pastors like Bill Hybels and John Piper, who have created a strategy to appoint a successor. I love hearing both of these men speak, but I think their legacy will be way they finish their current positions and pass the baton. I’m looking forward to watching that transition.

If you’re in a position of leadership, you need a strategy to replace yourself. You owe it to those that follow you and those that lead alongside you. At 29, I’m not looking to retire from ministry, but I still want to appoint leaders that can lead our preteen ministry.

Here are a few things to consider as you work to replace yourself:

Vision, Vision, Vision

Creating a strategy to replace yourself will sustain the vision that been set for your ministry. If the ministry is built on your personality, then it will fall in the absence of your personality. We’ve all seen this happen to churches. However, a strategy to replace yourself works to appoint a leader that understands the vision and will carry it on into the future. If the vision for your ministry means anything to you, do everything to make sure it sticks without you.

Replacements may or may not be better than you

Remember the movie The Replacements? A bunch of washed-up football players take over the NFL when the real players go on strike. It was obvious that these replacement players were not on the same level as the professionals, but in the end they had all improved dramatically.

You might stumble across that prodigy that can step in and do your job with ease, but that’s not likely. When looking for a replacement, look for someone who has natural abilities that will shine in your ministry. But, more importantly, look for someone who is teachable. Pass on everything you know and give them room to grow. In the end, the replacement may just do more than you could’ve ever done.

Start Small

A strategy for replacing yourself begins with delegation. Face it; hardly anyone is naturally great at delegation. It takes discipline. I’m not where near where I would like to be, but the steps we’ve taken have been refreshing. As much as I love teaching and speaking, I’m finding real joy in watching others fill those roles.

This past Sunday was a big Sunday for our preteen ministry. I was so excited about the challenge that we were laying out for our preteens. I wanted to teach the lesson so badly, but I didn’t. Instead, I stood in the back of the room and watched other leaders do an amazing job of engaging the preteens and presenting God’s Word. I was like a proud parent watching their 16-year old kid drive off for the first time.

What’s your strategy to replace yourself?
What are you currently doing that you could empower another leader to do?


2 responses to Replace Yourself

  1. Thanks Matt. This is really hard for me as well. But I realize I’m doing my students a great disservice by (passively) telling them that I’m the only one who can really teach them.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Creating Balance in Life - mattmo.org | mattmo.org - February 4, 2013

    […] I shared my thoughts about delegation a few weeks ago. I am still learning how to do this well. I’m learning not to just pass tasks to someone else, but to actually release the power to make decisions and carry out ministry plans. It’s a little scary, but also really exciting. Once I’ve gotten rid of the things that are ineffective and created a To Do List, it’s easier to decide what things can be delegated to others. […]

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