August 9th, 2012

5 Keys to Church Succession Planning by Bill Hybels

At today’s Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels discussed the sensitive issue of succession planning. In typical Hybels style, he addressed it boldly, challenging leaders to “Turn over heaven and earth to make sure our churches are well led after we leave.

KEY #1: A great overall succession plan will have an extended planning phase
  • Ask and answer key questions
  • Who will choose the next leader?
  • What is the time frame?
  • How will the church honor the departing leader?
  • Hybels shared his time frame at age 61: 5-10 years
  • Hybels indicated that their planning phase was at least one year
KEY #2: The right person must engage the pastor in the extended planning phase
  • The person must have incredibly high trust with the leader
  • The person must to be a person of high emotional intelligence
  • The person must be patient as the planning questions cannot be rushed

KEY #3: The plan must outline how internal and external candidates will be considered

  • At Willow Creek, they will thoroughly consider internal candidates first
  • Hybels indicated that this creates excitement internally for potential candidates

KEY #4: You can’t overestimate how deep emotions run for a pastor-leader

  • This is heightened for founding pastors
  • NOTE: You could sense Hybels discomfort in even addressing the subject
  • Hybels predicts a generational flux of leaders will be tested in the next 10 years

KEY #5: Leaders must be challenged to leave a legacy

  • Hybels was asked, “Are you going to die someday?”
  • He was then asked, “Do you plan to lead Willow until the day you die?”
  • Every leader knows that the greatest legacy is how the org is led after them
  • Hybels shared that he has more enthusiasm ┬ábecause he can “see the finish line”

4 Comments on to “5 Keys to Church Succession Planning by Bill Hybels”

Leave a Comment