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  • Hannah Williamson

Next - Pastoral Succession that works - Book Review

Generally I write reviews on books that I have really enjoyed, but I have to be honest, I did not enjoy this book. Now to be fair, the circumstances around me reading this probably had an impact on this. My Dad, who was our Pastor had suddenly died. I was thick in the midst of grief and a month in was asked by our leadership team to read this book. I was going on a cruise with my family that Dad had booked but would obviously no longer be on. I look back now realising the insensitivity of this. To be fair to the team, the guy who gave me the book later apologised for the timing. I guess people just don't get grief! I read the book and it made me angry. I guess I was at the angry point of grief. So, I say all that to say, maybe the book isn't too bad. It does give a lot of examples of succession to read through and certainly makes you consider your viewpoint on this.

I will make just a few comments on my frustrations but I would suggest reading this book if you are beginning to think about succession - just make sure you get a healthy balance and find some other things to read and also learn from the good, the bad and ugly.

  1. There was little about PRAYER. This bothered me. It focussed so much on the processes and structures and systems that I felt frustrated that it did not see hearing the voice of God as vital. I hope when churches begin to think about transition, they will not be scared to pray. Or will not see everything else as more important. It's God's church.

  2. It was written with an American context in mind - this isn't necessarily bad if you are an American church, but I am based in the UK. There are so many cultural differences. Sometimes I can look past this, but I found it hard to in reading this. Look for some 'unique to your culture' examples of transition even if you do read this.

  3. It spoke little of the CALL OF GOD. This really bothered me. I have found in some churches that the work has become about people building a career or building a platform of fame. I wish we'd take more time to understand the call of God.

  4. It was fairly demoralising. There were many examples of transition but few that were positive. Now, I've come to think that maybe transition never has a great story (is that overly negative?!). Change is never easy. Change is never easy, particularly when it comes suddenly which was the experience I faced, however I hope that down the line someone will write a book that has some good points in it. Of course not everything will be perfect but hopefully we can see some good?

When it comes to transition, this book may accurately portray what we see when we look at churches around us transitioning - difficulty, however I hope that we can believe for a brighter future. A future full of people being raised up and released to carry the baton of serving Jesus and his church. I pray we'll have some good stories to share. Some miracle stories to share. I pray Pastors will think about this early so that when it comes ,it is easier than maybe it is for many.

Maybe I should have given a disclaimer before positing this, but I do hope in reading it, it will spark some thought along this line rather than just waiting for it to happen and dealing with it then. Ultimately, however the transition goes, God WILL build His church. What a relief!


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