With Payton Manning out at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts and their subsequent nose dive this season (as of today, win-less through half the season) I have a fresh glimpse of what I believe is an achilles’ heel of leadership in certain situations that I think affects not just pro sports teams but all organizations, including the faith community.
And it is not with the leader but with the organization as a whole. I call it the succession problem.
Now I know that teams which try to use two quarterbacks are often not, if at all, successful. The nature of the game requires there be one clear cut starting quarterback and I understand this. But when a player, the caliber and quality of Manning, who I like and tremendously respect, goes down and there has been no one to effectively step in and carry the team, we see what happens.
I know that as a pastor and leader of a particular congregation, I have a role to play that is central and vital to its life and health. But I know that one day I shall leave and I want to be able to leave in such a way, that the congregation will have a clear sense of purpose and direction and can move on with fewer bumps in the road. This is easier said than done these days. But it is vital to the health of the congregation/organization.
With sports, players come and go more quickly and frequently than in other professions. Yet with churches and other organizations, stability, as much as this word implies a boring simpleness, is a vital factor in long term success.
So as I watch our local pro team struggle to win, and more important, move to a new chapter in their history, I am remind that both stability and succession is something that I must, as a pastor and a leader, pay attention to for the health and vitality of a congregation that I care for and I care about.
Have a great week!