November 9, 2016

Finishing Well

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On today’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Rick Veenstra talks about the importance of finishing well as a Christian leader to ensure a smooth and positive transition in your ministry.

Rick Veenstra is nearing the end of his journey as a vocational Christian leader, having served as a pastor for over 40 years. To help prepare for the next chapter of his life, he describes three things that are required for “finishing well.”

First, finishing well requires setting a date. Leaders in the church need to know the plan for the person who is transitioning out. Oftentimes Christian leaders who are moving toward a transition are unwilling to actually set a date. It helps everyone if a date is set so that there is a common understanding of the timeframe they are working with.

Secondly, it’s crucial to create a transition team – a group of people who are willing to work with the leader on creating and implementing a go-forward transition plan, and establishing a search team if the person needs to be replaced as a leader.

Finally, it’s important for the leader who is transitioning out to develop their own plan. In Rick’s case, he called it “living generously.” Because Rick wanted more space in his life, he asked the leaders to reduce his role from full time status to 80 percent. But he would only be paid for 60 percent because he wants to give back a day, which he considers an act of living generously, a day each week to give back to the ministry. Rick shared the plan with his ministry team and executive board and it was implemented in short order.

In Rick’s case, finishing well meant setting a date (June 30, 2017), creating a transition team (aka succession planning team), and living generously by reducing his workload and giving back to his ministry (the Great Lakes Region of the Reformed Church of America).

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