Today I want to talk to you about three types of transitions in your church. Volunteers and leaders come and go in churches all the time. That’s why it’s important to develop people throughout your leadership pipeline because these types of transitions happen at every level. Let’s take a look.
Temporary transitions occur when someone steps out of a role for a defined timeline. This transition probably occurs most often in your church. Some examples include maternity or medical leave, caring for an ailing family member, and even special assignments or strategic initiatives. In a temporary transition, you focus on covering the responsibilities for the role during the person’s leave of absence, not replacing them.
Departure-defined transitions occur when someone plans to leave a position within a set timeline. Some examples include retirement and job transitions as well as roles that have set terms like Sunday School teachers who commit for or a year. Because of the set timeline, most churches navigate these transitions well. The best scenario is when there is a full leadership pipeline in place that provides a strong bench of leaders for succession at every level.
Unexpected, or emergency, transitions occur when someone vacates their position, well, unexpectedly. We often consider this type the “if so-and-so gets hit by a bus” plan. The unlikelihood of tragedies makes it easy to dismiss this transition, but we should have plans in place to cover the unexpected departure of any leader or volunteer and for whatever reason. Whether it’s a two-hour or two weeks notice, it’s still urgent to replace that leader in short order. People get new jobs, face medical emergencies, or just up and quit! This is why leadership development at all pipeline levels is crucial. We must be ready for emergencies when they arise.
Now that you understand these three types of ministry transitions and the importance of development in your leadership pipeline, what are you going to do about it?