Fill in the Blank


In 2001, on a support staff application for Crossroads Community Church, there was this question:  List the position(s) for which you feel most qualified: ________________.
I entered “Senior Pastor.”

As an HR manager at the time, I just wondered if anyone ever read applications at the church and wrote that as a joke.  The senior pastor was Kevin Myers.  CCC became 12Stone 6 years later, now the largest church in our denomination and one of the fastest growing churches in America for several years (according to Outreach Magazine).

I was on staff at 12Stone (aka Crossroads) those six years, during which time I was called to vocational ministry, obtained my MMin, and was licensed (and later ordained).  Who knew that joke would turn into a prophesy (not that PK is in danger of losing his job to me, but prophetic as to pastoring)?

We should be writing down the position we want in the future.  We should figure out what steps it will take to get there, and we should assess our progress.

But even more than that, we should be writing those names down of individuals whom we would choose to replace us.  For example, I know one District Superintendent who has a dozen names written down of people who could replace him.  Until he retires, those names get put into the hat for roles that will develop those individuals so that they will be ready when the DS role is available, even if not in their own district.

What are you writing in the blank of your future role, and who are you developing to fill your current role?  What expectations are you communicating to those people through how you fulfill your role and how you talk about your role?  (Would anyone want your job in the future based on how you communicate it now?)  Finding and developing the person who will take your place requires creative communication.  Remembering that communication includes listening, how are you listening for passions, skills, and availability?  For example, when someone is excited about something that you get to do in your current role, do you make a note about that person’s passion?  

What role are you writing in the blank “List the position(s) for which you feel most qualified: ________________,” and who is writing your role in their blank?

(This posting was inspired by Shawn Hipps’ resignation from Mars Hill Bible Church after taking Rob Bell’s place earlier this year, which I first read about on David Drury’s blog here, and after writing this, I read Paul Tillman’s blog about it here.)


3 thoughts on “Fill in the Blank

  1. I appreciate your take on this. It was a hard lesson for me to learn that when I come in to fill a need that it is part of my job to train others to fill that need. Just because something was fixed while I was there doesn't mean it will just maintain after I leave.

    Also, nice job of bringing out the overarching principles from a particular church situation. Rob Bell may very well have expected and trained Shawn Hipps to take his place, but the church elders change the job.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s