Every church will eventually face the challenge of establishing a new senior pastor. Is your church ready?
Most churches do not have a plan in place for how to navigate this transition well. At Slingshot Group, we have sensed the need to help senior pastors and their church leaders transition and maneuver through this all-important journey. Succession plans gone wrong can be one of the most damaging things that can happen to a church. Rather than face this process with fear and dread, it is possible for this transition to be the beginning of a great new season.
Slingshot Group has developed a three-hour seminar that tackles the issues around succession planning and how your church can actually thrive through the process. Bob Russell, retired pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and Will Heath, creator of The Succession Framework, will be teaming up to share practical insights on this topic as well as key strategies to help your church begin to think about its own succession plan.
pureHOPE was established thirty years ago to equip the church to pursue holiness in the midst of a sexualized culture. A few years ago, its board of directors, including CEO Rick Schatz, realized a planned transition to younger leadership was the only way to continue carrying out that mission in the years to come. The result was a multi-year succession strategy that will culminate in October when Noel Bouché, now serving as President, will succeed Rick as CEO. Rick and Noel will join the Slingshot team at CCU to share insights and lessons learned from their succession experience in the parachurch ministry context.
About Bob Russell
God has blessed Bob Russell with a life much different than one he could have ever imagined. As a young man growing up in northern Pennsylvania, Bob had intended on becoming a high school basketball coach in his hometown. During his senior year of high school, however, Bob realized a desire in his heart to enter the ministry. Soon thereafter, he enrolled in Cincinnati Bible Seminary where he graduated in 1965. At just twenty-two years of age, Bob became the pastor of Southeast Christian Church. That small congregation of 120 members became one of the largest churches in America, with 18,000 people attending the four worship services every weekend in 2006 when Bob retired. Now through Bob Russell Ministries, Bob continues to preach at churches and conferences throughout the United States, provide guidance for church leadership, mentor other ministers and author Bible study videos for use in small groups. An accomplished author, Bob has written over one-dozen books. Bob and his wife Judy of 46 years have two married sons, Rusty and Phil. Rusty recently became Lead Pastor in Port Charlotte, Florida after serving at Southeast for many years. Phil is a Sergeant with the Louisville Metro Police Department and a deacon at Southeast Christian Church. Bob and Judy have seven grandchildren with whom they enjoy spending their time. In his leisure time he enjoys playing golf and is an avid University of Louisville football and basketball fan.
About Will Heath
The topic of retirement-based transitions caught Will Heath’s attention while he was working as a banker. As the bank’s liaison to the nonprofit community, Will was exposed to several organizations that struggled through issues that resulted from poor successions. Wondering if this was a similar issue in the church, Will decided to interview pastors and discovered that there was a great need within the church and no real tools to help. In 2009, Will contacted the Barna Group and asked if they would help. They did. In total, 600 pastors were interviewed on the topic of succession planning. Armed with this initial phase of research, Will began to interview leaders from various backgrounds on the topic of Succession Planning. His passion and commitment to serve the older generation of Christian leaders has yielded practical and important insights into the topic of succession planning. Will has served in many bi-vocational roles while working as a banker. Will and his wife Ali have two daughters, Ana and Alix. In his free time he likes to watch movies, play disc golf (RHBH) and hang out with his family and friends.