Passing On Leadership

Today I read Numbers 26-27. As the children of Israel prepare to enter the promised land, God sets up ahead of time how much land each tribe will get based on their size. He then takes Moses to the top of the mountain to show him the land he is giving to the children of Israel (Moses can’t go in because of his sin). At the twilight of his life Moses asks God for a successor that could lead the people so God tells him to pass his authority on to Joshua who will lead them and hear from God through casting lots with the priest. The passing on of the torch of leadership and lessons learned in life is an important one. It happens in every form of ministry and industry in the world. Usually the gains of someone who was highly successful are not repeated by the successor because he is following in the leaders footsteps. It is interesting that Joshua does turn out to be an incredible leader conquering the land that God had given them yet he is not allowed to talk with God as Moses had before. When it comes to legacy and transfer of leadership, we need to do a better job of this in the church at large.

Usually in church life we wait until the last minute to pass on leadership to the next guy. Rarely does a pastor have a successor in the ranks of the church that he grooms and mentors into the role. Joshua was will Moses the whole time. He saw how he handled difficult situations. He learned from Moses’ mistakes as well as his successes. He was immersed in the culture of the nation and was able to carry forward the culture that was passed on to him. This helped to produce a smoother transition and continued the success that Moses had. If only we would do that more in the church, we would not have as many highly successful churches slowly erode to mediocrity once the founder leaves. I don’t know what it is that keeps this from happening. Is it the ego of the leader? Is it the ego of the successor? Are there no guys who are willing to sit under a great leader and learn? Are there no great leaders who want to take the time to groom younger leaders?

Lord, I pray for the church and the leaders that are to come in the future. Please help there to be leaders who take the time to mentor the younger generation. I pray also that there would be more young leaders who would take the time to learn from those who have come before them. Help me to do a good job of grooming my own boys to be good leaders and not shrink away from responsibility or quit when things get hard. Please prepare both me and them to receive what you want us to do. Amen.
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