Leading Or Leaving?

Pastor Mark Hopper

Pastor Mark Hopper

By Pastor Mark Hopper

As I shared in my last article, I recently “passed the baton” to a younger pastor at our church.  My wife and I have served at the Evangelical Free Church of Diamond Bar for over 27 years.  But, as of Sept. 1, we have a new senior pastor. His name is Tim Park.

Tim has a wonderful wife and two teenagers.  He has served at various churches and has been on our staff for over three years.  He is a good shepherd and a good communicator with lots of energy and enthusiasm.

Part of the transition plan that our church adopted included the opportunity for my wife and I to continue to attend and serve here.  Tim will be the new senior pastor and I will work under his leadership in various ministries at our church.

The best way I have explained it to our people is, “I’m not leaving; I’m just not leading.”

We love the people at our church and want to continue to serve them.  We are thankful for all the help and support my wife and I have received from these friends over the years.

We don’t want to leave.  But, we realized it is time for a younger couple to lead.  So, “We are not leaving, we are just not leading,” as a younger pastor on our staff takes the pilot’s seat at our church.

I suppose many of us face the same question: When is it time to let younger people lead a church, business or other organization?  When is it time to pass the baton to the next generation?

There are not any simple answers to this question.  I’m sure that each situation and each leader is different.  But, the reality is that each of us in leadership will eventually need to hand over the baton to another member of the team.

The leaders at our church read a variety of books and articles on the topic of transition.

One theme that we found is that wise leaders should already have a transition plan in place.   Every company and organization should prepare a transition plan in case the leader leaves unexpectedly, is unable to lead due to health or other issues, or simply retires.

The second lesson that was emphasized in many books and articles was that wise leaders should always be preparing and training future leaders.  One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of leaders is to be training and mentoring younger men and women for future leadership responsibilities.

My wife and I are thankful for the privilege of leading our church over the past 27 years, and we are grateful that our church has encouraged us to continue to serve here. We are thankful for the new senior pastor, Tim Park, and look forward to serving under his leadership.  I hope you will come and visit our church and get to know our new senior pastor.

Pastor Mark Hopper is from the Evangelical Free Church of Diamond Bar, 3255 South Diamond Bar Ave. Sunday services are 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. For more information, call (909) 594-7604 or visit http://www.efreedb.org.

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