Topic: Succeeding Should Start on Church Leader's First Day of Office

Two hands passing a relay baton
Two hands passing a relay baton (photo:
By Li ShiguangJanuary 11th, 2024

Inheritance should not merely be passing on the baton or finding a successor; it's the continuation and development of life, mission, and culture.

Some church leaders believe it's finding a successor, but this understanding is flawed. A painstakingly operated old shop with years of success faces closure as the aging owners find their children unwilling to inherit. If the next generation doesn't appreciate the previous one's work, how can inheritance occur?

If we prepare the next generation only for a job transition, they might lack interest, saying, "You've done well, but sorry, I'm not interested in what you've done." Inheritance far surpasses finding a successor; it's the continuation of the instructor's life, the unit's mission, and the group’s culture, not just the commonly perceived mission.

Many aspects of society require inheritance, a concept we all understand. But why should the church inherit? Because the God in whom Christians believe is a God of eternal inheritance. God's intention is for humans to govern the world He created and dwell with Him. God is self-existent and eternal, but humans are not. Humanity must, therefore, carry out the work of inheritance according to certain standards and principles, so that they can govern the world and the church following God's will.

Jesus said, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working,' signifying inheritance. After Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, He instructed His disciples to continue His work by advancing the Great Commission until His return.

Many, including some church leaders, mistakenly think that preparing for inheritance should begin when they're almost unable to work, but this approach is incorrect.

Regarding inheritance, the earlier, the better, ideally as it starts on the first day of leadership. Successors aren't "discovered" but "nurtured." Therefore, inheritance must be a dedicated and particularly significant effort.

When potentially suitable individuals are identified within a team or institution, their training should start immediately. Leaders should select appropriate successors from among them, and nurture them as future leaders, from whom they finally choose the successor.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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