How is Your Second String?

By Dave Anderson-Church Account Manager YCA

At some point, everyone on your staff, including you, will be gone.  Hopefully this will be gradual and not all at once! 

(Well, unless it’s the Rapture!)

God’s plan for each of us is most often to serve for a season, and then move on.  It is natural for people to leave.

We also all grow old. Just like Moses handling over leadership to Joshua, He wants each of us to turn over our ministry to someone younger at some point in time.

Imagine if at the end of his time leading the Israelites if Moses would have posted a sign, “Wanted, Godly leader for troublesome people.  Military experience preferred. Inquire within.”

Have you ever thought about your plans when those times come?  Who will take over kid’s church when your children’s pastor leaves?  Who can lead worship if the leader is suddenly ill?  What if a staff pastor takes a few weeks off? 

The big question, who takes over when your season is done? 

It’s very easy to get caught up in what needs to be done this week, but for an organization to survive you must look forward to the future. We should consider these realities and plan before they come.

No one should ever be irreplaceable. Good leaders always have succession plans for every role in their organization.  I recommend even having a back up janitor! 

It is unhealthy for a church not to have “tier two” leaders.  An NFL football team would never survive without a second string. You shouldn’t try either.

Every leader in your ministry should designate and train a backup.  Require them to do so. Make them report to you how they are making it happen. Each of us should train our own replacements. 

New leaders should be teaching youth and kids, leading worship, and planning and running events.  There must be Sundays when your worship leader, youth and kids’ pastors, are just sitting in service while the second string serves.

Second string leaders don’t have to be paid positions.  Most often you already have volunteers that are passionate about areas of ministry that would love to take on more responsibilities.  Don’t see them? Start intentionally trying to find them.

These volunteers are incredible assets even if they never take on a full-time staff role.  They add so much to the ministry, allow staff to take time off, and can manage departments in a pinch. 

Who are you preparing to replace you?  Think about a pastoral change without a search committee or headhunters.  Save the cost and stress for the congregation that you love.

What if the next leader was already in house and was known and loved by your people?  Someone you know and trust.

Do you have a team member that has potential?  Hire one if you don’t.  Start giving them more and more responsibilities.  Push and challenge them. Spend time mentoring them.  Invest in educational or professional resources for them.  Give them pulpit time and ministry opportunities. Offer honest feedback. Do everything you can to make them better than you, then hand it all over to them. 

You don’t have to tell them your plan until the time is right.  Overtime God may show you that they are not in His plans for the future of your church.  That is ok. You’ve invested in the Kingdom, preparing a pastor to succeed somewhere else.

Leaders pour their lives into building ministries.  They should believe that their work is worth continuing after they have moved on. If you love it you will leave it in good hands.

Look at your team. Think about yourself.   What are you doing today to prepare for the end of the seasons your in?

Have a Joshua in the wings instead of a help wanted sign in the window.


Who will replace you when you are gone?

Is there anyone on your team that is irreplaceable?  

How can you change that?

Write down you starting line up, and then your second string.  

Where are you missing players?

Like what your reading?  Share with a friend!

Back to Blog Home Page.

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy statement for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.

Intuit Mailchimp logo
Facebook icon
Website icon
Email icon

© 2023 Your Church Admin