Jesus started his ministry with the end in mind. The first thing we see Jesus do is find his replacements. He did this because he knew that his time on earth was limited and that he had to pass his ministry on to those who would follow in his footsteps. We often think of ministry succession being thought of at the end of a ministry. Jesus planned for it all along. He was constantly taking his crop of recruits to new places, teaching them new things and, at times, sending them to do and say what they saw and heard him do and say.
We will all be followed by someone, whether we are a minister, elder or even a member in the congregation. Someone will fill our slot. So let us start with the end in mind and equip along the way. When you do that you will notice that ministry multiplies as you get more hands on deck from the beginning rather than at the end. You will also find transition to be easier when it is needed because everyone already knows what to do.
We can make sure class happens. We can make sure we have a song leader for Sunday. We even need to make sure someone is on tap to teach the children’s classes…but don’t ever let the urgent take priority over the most important things you can and should do. Let us involve more people in the ministry process. There will be more ownership of the ministry as well as more people ready to run with things in the event transition needs to take place. This changes our ministry paradigm from how much ministry I can do to how we can serve together.