“Turning Points” is the evocative title of a popular program series aired by History Television. It describes decisive moments that have changed the course of history.
There are no better words to describe the essence of true transitional leadership ministry. Transitional leadership, be it in the local church or in para-church ministry, is all about facilitating “turning points” in the life of the organization.
Transitional ministry is not merely “life support”. Its goal is not simply to keep the organization alive and functioning until new long-term leadership can be installed. It is all about facilitating “transformational transitions” that provide significant “turning points” for organizations that are serious about fulfilling their God-given mission. Transitional Leadership provides the required “course corrections” periodically required by organizations if they are to remain on track.
Local churches and Christian organizations are all about relationships, mission and ministry.
In terms of relationships: it is the will of God that churches and para-church agencies should reflect and demonstrate the same love, grace, unity, and fellowship as revealed in the relationship that exists among God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6,7)
Unfortunately, relationships in Christian organizations infected by selfishness can become sick and even face terminal possibilities. Transitional leadership ministry is all about transitional leaders becoming part of a church or para-church organization in order to provide short-term leadership that will facilitate conflict management/resolution and renew and deepen spiritual relationships.
In terms of mission: when God raises up a given church or Christian organization, He assigns it a ministry plan and objectives. Transitional leadership is all about helping the leadership, staff and members of local churches and para-church organizations to perceive that ministry and own those objectives. In so doing, the organization is enabled to understand the giftedness and strengths required in the long term senior leader it needs and desires.
In terms of ministry: if God-like relationships are to be enjoyed,if the divine objectives are to be fulfilled and if personal ministries are to be maximized, the leaders, staff and members of church or para-church organizations must organize and structure themselves in the most effective possible manner. This not only facilitates effective and harmonious ministry, but it also enables the organization to discuss philosophy of ministry with a long term senior leader prospect. It is the role of transitional leaders to assist the church or organization to understand and embrace the kind of structural and organizational renewal that will facilitate true koinonia in pursuit of the goals of God and provide the basis of meaningful discussions with senior leadership candidates.
If the senior leadership transition period is to be a positive "turning point" that it could and should be in the life of the church or organization, transitional leaders will need to be both gifted and properly equipped, as well as called by God to play key roles in these decisive moments.
While transitional leadership ministry can be a lifetime vocation, most often these roles will be played by pastors or other Christian leaders who are either in the “empty nest” period of their lives or in semi-retirement. Rather than focusing on golf, hobbies and warm weather, they choose rather to join God’s Green Berets, His Special Forces Unit in kingdom ministry.
The role of the transitional leader is to provide the “course correction” that is required if the organization or church is to maximize its ministry in the future and enjoy happy, harmonious, and effective relationships with the longer term leader of God’s choice and call who will emerge in the near future.
Transitional Leadership Ministry is a necessary calling. It is a needed calling. It is a noble calling. It is an open calling for pastors and Christian leaders who would rather “wear out” than “rust out”. It was the latter years in the life of Moses in which his most meaningful ministry was accomplished. It can be the same for godly, motivated, and well trained transitional leaders.
It is the goal of the Transitional Leadership Ministry Division of Outreach Canada to assist those called by God to this ministry to become effective transitional leaders who fulfill that calling with excellence and joy.
Dr Doug Harris is Director of TLM - Institute
You may reach Doug at email@example.com
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