MOMENTUM ENCOURAGING TO WORSHIP, WALK AND WITNESS
Issue focus: Passing the Baton
DECEMBER 2015 | ISSUE 8
in this issue |
Editorial | 3 One generation to the next | 4 Three Chairs | 6 Building for the future | 7 Succession planning | 9 Passing the baton - in pictures | 12 Happenings at GMI | 13 The grooming process | 14 Momentum is published in India by the Gateway Ministries family of churches, for circulation among members. Private Circulation Only. Subscription free. Chief Editor Mohan Varghese Editorial Team Stanley Mehta David Selvan Editorial Consultants Anand Mahadevan Shobha Sreekumaran Design & Production Sarangan Ramaswamy Published by Gateway Ministries International B 215, 2nd floor (Deck Level), Belapur Railway Station Complex Tower no. 10, CBD, Navi Mumbai400 614 Maharashtra, Indiaâ€¨ Telephone: +91- 2222150654 / 22189036 Email: email@example.com Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. Articles featured in Momentum reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily those of Momentum or GMI family of churches - Editor
The value of sons who carry the fatherâ€™s heart | 16 Passing on the baton at every level | 18 When the baton is not passed | 20 How not to pass the baton? | 22
GMI Vision It is the dream of a place where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance and encouragement. It is the dream of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with hundreds of thousands of residents in and around Mumbai It is the dream of welcoming 10,000 members into the fellowship of our church family-loving, learning, laughing and living in harmony together. It is the dream of developing people to spiritual maturity through discipling and bible studies, small groups, seminars, retreats and a Bible school for our members. It is the dream of equipping every believer for a significant ministry by helping them discover gifts and talents God gave them. It is the dream of sending our members on short- term mission projects and as missionaries & church workers into major cities of India, to different states within India, to our neighbouring countries and ultimately to other nations of the world. It is the dream of planting daughterchurches in every local language. It is the dream of becoming “Salt and light” in the community, thereby influencing every sphere around us with the Kingdom values, namely sphere of families, education, judiciary, arts & entertainment, Media, politics, business, industry, economics, social services, etc.
All across India we discover Christian mission compounds. A short walk into one of them is enough to enlighten the visitor to the vibrant life it once had. It must have seen glorious days. Read their history and soon you encounter of revival that they enjoyed some decades earlier. But you would be appalled by the current condition of these Mission compounds. What went wrong? Often the stories tell of how they failed to pass on their vision. They often failed to raise the next generation of leaders. With the foreign missionaries returning back to their homeland, or their untimely death, the whole mission fell into wrong hands. You will see that it had been pillaged and ravaged by the hawks. Those in the corporate world, often initiate a succession plan 5 years in advance. They are not taking any chances here. It is in-built within their system. How much more planning and preparation should one ensure, when eternal issues are at stake? Abraham passes on the baton to his son, Isaac, who passes it on to his son, Jacob. So God is delighted to be known as “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. We have a Joshua taking over from Moses; and it is he who takes the Israelites into the Promised Land. You see an Elisha in the making even as Elijah puts his mantle over him. And in the NT you have the outstanding model of Jesus who passes on the mission to his 12 disciples. And of course, Paul raises successors in the form of Titus and Timothy. And so this issue of Momentum comes to serve you with the theme “Passing on the baton”. You have a variety of articles from seniors, from both perspective – the giver and the receiver. We also bring you articles on what happens if you fail to pass it on. And there is another article giving you the Biblical basis. And then there are testimonies of how it happened. Enjoy the feast and draw from the wisdom of the ages. And may you be sure to pass on the baton of your sphere to the next generation.
Stanley Mehta is the overseer of Gateway Ministries International. He loves training and conducting seminars on family, parenting and finance. He is married to Esme, and they have 2 daughters who are married and a son. They also have two grand-children. Stanley & Esme are now based in Bangalore.
mohan varghese |
One generation to the next a biblical perspective of passing the baton
Mohan Varghese pastors the Grace Tabernacle Ministries and oversees their churches. He is married to Sareeta and have three sons Adarsh, Ashok and Alex, the eldest is married to Tiqvah-El and they have a daughter Mireya.
The Bible does not talk specifically about ‘passing the baton’. However, it provides several examples of key men of the Bible, who handed over a vision or a legacy of faith to those who followed after them.
striking illustration of handing over to a successor is that of Elijah and Elisha. We read about this specific process of the handing over of charge, in 1 Kings 18 &19 and 2 Kings 2.
In the Old Testament, we read of Joshua taking over from Moses, and he handed over to the Elders, who in turn, were followed by the Judges. In the process of handing over from one generation to another, we find a gradual decline in commitment to the ways of God, which eventually resulted in compromise and conflict.
The prophet Elijah after a great victory at Mount Carmel, over the prophets of Baal, found the events that followed were not as he had hoped. He expected a repentant nation and a king convinced that Yahweh was God, putting an end to the demonic ways of Jezebel. Instead, he found himself at the receiving end of a hostile Queen and an apathetic nation. The result was total devastation for Elijah, as fear and disillusionment set in. As Elijah throws in the towel and says he has had enough, God tells him He was not finished with him, not yet, and God’s grand purpose had three men waiting to play their roles in the next phase of history.
A little later, we read of King David and the legacy he passed on to his son Solomon, and he in turn handed over the kingdom to his son Rehoboam. Once again, from deep intimacy with God and the desire to please Him, we see successors slowly ignoring God and becoming self obsessed with building their own empires. In the New Testament we read about Paul and Timothy. But one very
One of the men God told Elijah to choose was his successor, Elisha, “while he was plowing with twelve 4
mohan varghese | pairs of oxen before him.” For Elisha, to obey the prophetic call meant doing so at a considerable personal loss, financially speaking. It meant giving up his riches and willingness to endure tremendous spiritual conflict. But Elisha’s responses in 1Kings 19:20, 21 - show us that he was a man of faith.
In order to lead, one must first learn how to be led. The way up is first the way down. (Mk 10:43-45) While it was not easy to follow in the footsteps of a spiritual giant and powerhouse like Elijah, Elisha did an impeccable job, and proved worthy of his call and did better than Elijah eventually.
Elijah had to pass on a mantle so that Elisha could take the role of successor. Till God spoke to him, Elijah failed to see the other team players who would succeed him to run the next leg of the race. Elisha became an understudy to learn the art and craft of being a prophet to the nations. Elisha’s faith and commitment to the task resulted in his receiving a double portion of Elijah’s anointing.
Better Yourself by Breaking Barriers (2 Kings 6:8-12) The determined Elisha survived and thrived despite asking for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9) and doubling his scope of ministry in the process. His ministry overlapped the geographical barrier, crossed the dynasty barrier, and broke the race barrier.
The mantle ‘adderet’ was the official garment of the prophet. It was a symbol of sacrifice and commitment. The mantle represented a man’s gift, the call of God and the purpose for which God had called him. Elijah by throwing the mantle over Elisha was making a symbolic pronouncement that Elisha would succeed him. Each person knew his call by the mantle upon him. The mantle speaks about what is the gifting we have received to use in serving God. When he received the mantle, Elisha was decisive, which undoubtedly indicated the previous work of God in his life and the perfect timing of this event. He celebrates the call by seeking to inform his family, and perhaps, seek their blessing, and then secondly, by a sacrifice of the means to his livelihood In essence, he burnt his bridges that he might effectively fulfill the ministry God had for him as a prophet. Elisha was showing family and friends that he had new goals, aspirations, new commitments, and priorities. It showed his resolve to never look back, or go back The process of the “handoff” in a relay race starts when a runner nears the end of his stretch. Elijah saw his race was almost over. He placed the mantle on Elisha. But before the “handoff” was completed, Elisha had learnt to be faithful. He started as a servant to Elijah (2 Kings 3:11). This was training ground in theology and practical ministry, as well as in learning humility, submission to authority, loyalty, faithfulness and obedience as a servant.
Better Yourself by Bearing Burdens (2 Kings 6:13-17) The friendly Elisha was unlike the frosty Elijah in endearing himself to others. Elisha was a companion, colleague, coworker, confidant and coach without peer. In fact, the sons of the prophets appeared prominently 10 times in Elisha’s ministry, but they never hung out with Elijah. He exudes and inspires confidence, attracts and affirms people, and calms fears. Better Yourself by Building Bridges (2 Kings 6:18-23) Elisha could have released the Syrians without feeding them. He could have sent them home red-faced and empty-handed. Or he could have sent them with eyes blind and stomachs empty. The prophet used the opportunity to teach both the Arameans and Joram. He advised the king to do three things for the prisoners: free them, feed them and fatten them Conclusion: We are constantly in transition. Each of us serves his time. No matter how talented, trustworthy and treasured the leaders of a generation are, the baton has to change hands one day. Elijah had done exploits, but his time for the “handoff” had come. Elisha, like Elijah, was an ordinary man, but he became extra-ordinary because he was available to the Lord. Elisha took up the mantle (baton) by surrendering to a greater cause - a bigger plan; and abandoned all aspirations of personal pleasure, power, prestige or possessions in order to serve the Lord, lock, stock, and barrel. The “handoff” was made successfully, and the baton passed on so he could leave a legacy for the future.
Succession isn’t simple. It isn't smooth. It is not often successful. Yet, it is a matter of gospel integrity - Collin Hansen (The Gospel Coalition)
the legacy you leave is more important than the heritage you receive
People: Seek to serve others and love them into the Kingdom.
Prosperity: Seeks Person (Self):Seeks success in life at whatever anything that makes him/ the cost. her happy.
Foundation of life
Scriptures: Guidelines for lifestyle/ behavior are taken from the Bible.
Saints: Follows other Christians’ behavior -right or wrong.
Society: If the world is doing it, it’s acceptable.
View of Scripture
Convinced it’s theabsolute, authoritativeWord of God for life. Bible is a life-giving book - meditate on it.
Believes it’s relative to situation; brings comfort not conviction. Bible is an academic book - read it.
Ignores it as a relic of another culture or time. Bible is irrelevant - ignore it.
View of God
Views God as a personal friend; and worships and depends on Him.
Knows God through salvation, but knows him more as a doctrine than a person.
View of Christ
Christ is Lord.
Christ is Savior.
Christ is a religious leader.
View of Prayer
Considers prayer an unending, deeply personal conversation with God.
Offers prayers as a perfunctory ritual in public and rarely in private.
Does not believe in prayer—except in case of dire emergency.
View of Job
Job is a platform, God Job is only a way to earn has called him/her to for money and get ahead in the purpose of ministry life; faith is ignored. to others.
Job is purely a means to self-advancement and prosperity.
The material is adapted from “The Three Chairs Principle” in the Walk Thru the Old Testament Live Event; “The Three Chairs” booklet by Bruce Wilkinson, 1987; and Firsthand Faith: Recapture a passionate love for the Savior, by Bruce H. Wilkinson, 1996. 6
barney coombs |
Building for the future “Passing the Baton” Spiritually, is it possible? This is only possible if it is in the hands of God. God never passes on batons. He delegates, but never releases ownership.
Barney Coombs is the founding elder of Salt and Light. He is widely recognised for his pastoral and apostolic gifting by Salt & Light churches and many others around the world. Barney passed the baton of Salt & Light leadership to Steve Thomas
So when I hear a pastor saying “My sheep”, “My church”, “My people”. He is talking ownership, not stewardship. Geoff and Muriel Chad are about to return to the UK. They wrote the following: “Although we make our plans, the outcome is firmly in the hands of our Father God who is a lot wiser and more powerful than we are! When we got married 45 years ago this weekend, we placed our life together firmly in His Hands. He has never failed us or let us down in any way, and we are completely confident, that now, as we make another move, anything is possible. Examine carefully what Paul has to say in I Corinthians 3:4-11“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human. What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord
assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labours. For we are God’s fellow workers; You are God’s field; God’s building. According to the grace of God given me, like a skilled master builder, I laid the foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” One day the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Jesus Christ with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him a favour. And he said, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking.” And when the ten heard it they were indignant at the two brothers. But 7
barney coombs | Jesus called them to him and said; “You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” In John 13 we read of Jesus washing the disciples feet. When He had washed their feet and put on His outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” It is so easy to do good things God has not directed us to do. Bob Mumford was taking a bath when God spoke to
him and said “Mumford! You and I are incompatible, and I don’t change.” Let me end by saying from the beginning of 1Corinthians13:1-8 “If I speak the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand mysteries, and all knowledge and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, and have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it's own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER FAILS.” May the Holy Spirit help each one of us to love one another with a pure heart fervently. In His great love, Barney Coombs
steve thomas |
Succession Planning I have three times handed on the leadership of churches to others, three times handed delegated leadership of apostolic teams to others, and twice I have been handed leadership within the Salt & Light family. The first time was when Barney handed on to me the baton of leading the UK and European team, and the second, was when he handed over the leadership of the International Team of the Salt & Light family of churches.
Steve Thomas leads the International Team at Salt & Light family of Churches. Steve travels widely training, teaching and coaching leadership teams and supporting national apostolic teams. He is married to Lorraine and they are based in Oxfordshire, UK. They have 5 children, and several grandchildren.
I am grateful for those who have been willing to take on leadership from me in various spheres of ministry, and incredibly grateful and surprised at those who have been willing to entrust measures of leadership to me. In this article, I have been asked simply to talk about the last experience, that of taking on the leadership of the International Team of the Salt & Light family. I can remember with great clarity the point at which it became clear to me that I should take on the leadership from Barney. It was not Barney who
spoke to me about it, nor the team, in the first instance, but the Holy Spirit. I had a waking dream in which it was absolutely clear that this transition needed to take place. We were in a Muslim country, and the International Team were holding their annual meeting, and had been talking about the future of the team. As I woke from this dream, in which God was clearly highlighting that I should take the leadership on, I remember feeling a big question? Should I tell Barney about it or not? I decided that I needed to do so. Barney was delighted. He said, “I’ve been waiting for you to hear something from God!” This is the big factor. We can designate successors, and watch out for gifted people, but is God really speaking to them? We need to establish this first and foremost. And if God is not speaking to those we would like to pass the baton to, we cannot do it! This was the foundation. But, as in any team, everyone needed to be consulted, and so the process took over a year as conversations happened at lots of different levels.
steve thomas | Barney’s concerns were the following:• Clarifying that both Lorraine and I felt this was a call of God • Agreement of the team that I was the one who should take the lead. This was something that cannot be forced to move too quickly, and people need time to hear God. • Transfer publicly of spiritual authority, and prayer for wisdom and anointing. • Genuinely attempting to honour and support our leadership, and pressing people who referred matters to him back in our direction. Barney made clear that he was always available to give any counsel and wisdom that I might seek from him. But his greatest gift was to pray that I, with the team, would hear God about how we should proceed to move forward. My overwhelming feeling in all of this process, is appreciation for Barney’s trust and support. But inevitably, there were tensions, too. • Inevitably, people asked “What does Barney think?” That’s not a manipulative or controlling question necessarily, but sometimes feels like it! As successor, I needed to ask “Is there something I am missing?” or “Is the change I am making necessary?” But this question always throws you back on listening to God again, so it’s no bad thing! • There are inevitable differences of style in handling leadership issues, both generationally, and motivationally. Knowing what your predecessor used to do is very instructive, but you need faith for handling people; and leading them towards certain agreed goals. I could not build by Barney’s faith or wisdom, but had to find my own. I am aware that Barney had his internal tensions. He had to decide whether he commented on what we were doing, or offered advice. On the whole, I am glad for the very releasing attitude that he took. He is still welcome in all our team meetings, both when we meet in different nations, or when we meet on conference calls, but he doesn’t always attend. From watching other transitions, and reflecting on our own within Salt & Light, I believe the following factors need to have attention paid to them:• Adequate definition of people’s roles in the new shape of things • Adequate definition of the purpose of the team in the new order of things, and how the new team will function
Adequate attention to emotions surrounding people who have been at the hub of leadership under one leader, who may not be quite so influential under another Communication by the new leader and team to the former leader and team, and adequate explanation of changes being made.
I remember asking a friend who had been through the transition process a number of times, some working better than others, “So what’s the key in such transitions?” He said to me: “Transitions are 10% spiritual and 90% emotional. You must deal with the emotional agendas!” I think he was right. This is why good communication is absolutely vital, time is essential at every stage, and careful foundations need to be laid for all change processes. Some of the great transitions of leadership in the Bible (Moses-Joshua; Elijah-Elisha, Paul-Timothy) involved different styles of working, and different fruit in the end. There was continuity, and change and development too. Above all, we will have to trust God in the midst of these changes. If he has spoken, he will be there to help with wisdom, clarity and redemption when new leaders make mistakes, too! From my own experience of the transitions I have been involved in, in both passing on the baton of leadership and receiving a baton from others, and from observations of others who have been involved in the process, I see some factors that I think will either help or hinder this process. Factors that help the process of transition:• Ensuring that those to whom one is passing on leadership feel this is a call of God • Preparation and discussion with church leadership. Ensuring that all the leaders are clear that the designated successor can be received by all. If those involved do not receive the new leader with faith, it cannot work. • Adequate consultation of the church. Time for prayer, questions, discussion, and evident willingness of receiving the successor. If the church cannot receive a new leader with faith, the transition won’t work • Clear prayer and laying on of hands to ensure spiritual handover • Ongoing pasturing / mentoring of the successor. This is an absolute key, and must also be received by the successor from someone! • Good communication with successor to ensure discipleship on major pastoral issues, significant leadership issues, provocation on development of church and community life, etc.
steve thomas | Factors that will hinder the process of transition • Inadequate definition beforehand of people’s roles in the new shape of things • Inadequate attention to the emotional factors involved when people who have once been at the hub of leadership and decision-making are now marginalised (either in reality, or in their own minds) • Unwelcome and unhelpful “listening to” or “entertaining” of people with difficulties with the new shape of things by leaders in the old regime • Insecure predecessors, and insecure successors • Poor communication with predecessors, by those who succeed to leadership • Interference by predecessors, instead of trust in God in the process of change. Clearly, all of these transitions only work where people have heard God, and where there is faith to receive the transition to a new order of leadership. But good communication, time to talk things through thoroughly, and the right processes of interaction are absolutely essential. My experience is that a lot of the trouble that has been experienced in a number of these transitions could have been avoided: it was not the devil causing us problems, but our own poor communication, rushed decision-making, or inadequate awareness of emotional
issues that tripped us up. I also need to say that I have seen many transitions work very well, due to things being handled carefully and in a relaxed manner. And God’s blessing has ensued. I suspect that everyone has some hidden anxieties, and I am no different from others in that respect! Will I have the wisdom and resources internally necessary to do the job? Will I have the courage necessary to pioneer into other nations? Will we have the ability to develop the next generation of leaders? These were the sorts of questions I asked myself. At the same time, God graciously spoke prophetically to me in several different situations, so I knew something of his plans and purposes, and the fight became a fight for faith to lay hold of all God is saying. But the International Team consists of quality men who, with their wives, make it easy to lead them. The great thing about stepping into the next phase of leadership and responsibility is that it really does press you into God in a fresh way, and that is stimulating, not frightening. So the challenge is laying hold of fresh manna and fresh direction for every situation. I believe that God wants these transition processes to succeed and be blessed. May God give us all grace to find his way and his rhythm in all of these changes!
INSPIRING QUOTES A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King, Jr The role of the pastor is to embody the gospel. And of course to get it embodied, which you can only do with individuals, not in the abstract - Eugene H. Peterson The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. —Rev. Theodore Hesburgh
passing the baton (in pictures..)
Matthew Dâ€™ Penha passing the baton of leadership of Glory Ministries to Naren Thapa
Matthew Dâ€™Penha passing the baton of leadership of Covenant Community Church to Ignatius Kaitha
Stanley Mehta passing on the baton of leadership of BBC Colaba to Joemon Joseph
I was given responsibility to start church in August 2000 in Andheri by Ps. Stanley Mehta and Ps. Matthew D' Penha. By God's Grace and guidance I served the church. It was my prayer and desire that I will Hand over the Church to some Godly young couple and same was encouraged and addressed in the last years Pastors retreat. And as God as confirmed I asked Steven and Shinnie (ex ATC students) about the same, they willingly agreed after much prayers. Accordingly on easter sunday i.e on 5th April 2015 in the presence of 3 churches of GMT with Ps. Matthew D' Penha and Ps. Naren Thapa, the baton was passed on to Steven and Shinnie. - Suman Master 12
happenings in the GMI family |
Angam + Rojan
Apem + Ayon
Asha + Anil
Bharti + Benny
Chandana + Madan
Dipika + Sampath
Selin + Vinay
Spandana + Sunil 13
joemon joseph |
The Grooming Process
The process of grooming to take over the baton of BBC
Joemon Joseph pastors the Bombay Baptist Church at Colaba and oversees other churches in India and overseas. He is married to Sunitha and they have two sons and a daughter.
The start of the journey From the week that I stepped into RIVER OF LIFE COMMUNITY CHURCH, the Chembur unit of BBC, I was introduced to the concept of mentoring and discipleship. At that point of my life, I was struggling in many areas as a new believer. Hence I desperately needed someone to help me in my journey. Thus began my mentoring process in Chembur with Jay Prakash, and later on with my pastor Viji. It was, often, not easy; but God helped me to see the value in this relationship. It laid a good foundation in my life. Joining ATC I first interacted with Stanley when he interviewed me for joining the ATC. He patiently heard me relate to him, how God had spoken to me about ATC. He strongly encouraged me to take a step of faith. Ten months of ATC in Colaba was extremely challenging. Many days the prayer would be “Lord help me to finish this day with your grace." Stanley constantly encouraged, and gave me the confidence that I could finish the
course. I did not know then that ATC would become a turning point in my life. In fact, it motivated me to take a few extra assignments like bible studies in the student hostels in the city. The move to BBC Colaba The journey of friendship with Stanley and Esme began again when they asked us to look after Chembur in 1997. Looking back I realise one of the things that touched me was his constant communication with me. I would feel that some of those conversations were during our times of pain and difficulty. I felt a bond being developed, in those couple of years. In the year 99 they asked us if we were willing to step out into full time ministry as pastors of BBC, Colaba. It was not an easy decision. I was doing well at Godrej and Boyce Mfg Ltd; I was seeing God’s favor in my work. In my dreams I would often see myself driving a car and living in a beautiful home. I felt I was not prepared to step out in faith, at that 14
joemon joseph | time. But God spoke very clearly through the life of Abraham to us. He gave us the grace to obey His word. Looking back I can also say that one of the key factors in our decision was "being able to trust them". New roles on the BBC Campus My job description ranged from pastoral work to gardening. It was frustrating many times. I was called to play a triple role: Pastor of Colaba, Dean of the Bible College and Maintenance Engineer for the Building. In the beginning, I struggled with these roles. I survived those initial years; and over time new leaders were recruited to take on the Bible College and the maintenance work. The times of travel with Stanley were the real treasures. Growing into maturity as a leader, understanding people and church models came as a result of those travels. More than that, I realized that he did not hold back anything. His desire, in my experience, was that I would go "beyond". Did it make a difference in my walk with the Lord? I am certain it did for me. In a span of 3 years I felt complete freedom to take care of Colaba. But every other day I would spend an hour or two with Stanley in his office asking him for guidance on various issues. I don't know how he managed to give many others and me so much time. It was amazing to
see him taking the pain to give all information and resources on anything that you struggled with. Every alternate month, we would spend 4-5 hours with them. Many of those times were to deal with problems like over work, bad parenting, lack of communication between Sunitha and me, issues with people etc. ”This would go as late as 2 am in the morning. If it was not for those times, we would have quit long back. Being prepared to receive the baton Stanley didn't leave anything to speculation. Communication and execution were extremely crucial for him. A year before his retirement, he shared his heart to pass on the BBC baton. Their long walk with us gave us the confidence to be prepared for this role. I saw generosity in many ways from Stanley. He was willing to give away his position, his home and his people over to us. The most amazing thing was that he was able to do this joyfully and graciously. All this was very humbling. The ongoing journey and friendship Because of what was sown in all these years, the friendship continues to grow. Every other week there is an occasional conversation that goes to more than an hour. I am able to tap into God's wisdom through them. It continues to bless our lives. Our motivation to continue in ministry is only strengthened by people like them. We thank God for their lives.
5 keys to Church Succession Planning - Bill Hybels (excerpts from Global Leadership Summit) Key #1 - A great overall succession plan will have an extended phase - Ask & answer key questions - Who will choose their next leader? - What is their time frame? - How will the church honour their departing leader? Key #2 - The right person must engage the pastor in the extended planning phase - The person must have incredibly high trust with the leader. - The person must be a person with high emotional intelligence. - The person must be patient as the planning cannot be rushed. Key #3 - The plan must outline how internal and external candidates will be considered Key #4 - You can’t overestimate how deep emotions run for a pastor-leader Key #5 - Leaders must be challenged to have a legacy
karan thomas |
The value of sons who carry the father’s heart “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” – Jeremiah 3:15 Around eight years ago, I sensed God speaking to me through this verse. It was a couple of days after Ngwiza Mnkandla from Z i m b a b w e s h a r e d a b o u t “Discipleship” at a conference in Mumbai. At the time, I had been hearing from God, but was unwilling to respond in obedience to Godly discipleship. But somehow, when God spoke to me through this verse, I couldn’t hold back any longer.
Karan Thomas pastors the Abundant Blessing Church in Andheri, Mumbai. He is married to Esther. He is excited about moving to Pune. Loves long drives and weekend getaways.
T h u s b e g a n m y j o u r n e y i n Discipleship. Since then, I have had the privilege of being nurtured by a few spiritual fathers at various stages of my life. I was greatly inspired by these men, who though ordinary, had extra-ordinary vision. They were ready to make sacrifices; they loved God deeply and people unconditionally; and put others interests before their own. I often saw that they had a perspective that was
eternal, not temporal. I wanted to be like them. As I review my life journey, I am thankful to God for these ‘spiritual fathers’ who have shaped me.
As I took the path of discipleship, I learned principles about a “Father – Son” relationship
- As a son, I need to spend time with my spiritual father. - As a son, I need to be yoked to the Fathers discipline. - As a son, I need to feel the heartbeat of my spiritual father. - As a son, I must not give up when the father challenges me to take a step of Faith - As a son, I must take care of people on his behalf - As a son, I must find joy in obeying the spiritual father, even when it goes against the grain - As a son, I must be trustworthy in the eyes of my spiritual father - As a son, I must be willing for my spiritual father to touch every area of my life 16
karan thomas | My Spiritual Father relationship with Uncle Mathew D’Penha In 2012, Uncle Mathew encouraged me to respond in obedience to God by joining church ministry full time. This challenged my faith. I had to believe that even if I were to quit my secular job to join the church, God would provide. It was more of a FATHER calling a SON to serve in a FAMILY. As opposed to a BOSS hiring an EMPLOYEE to join a COMPANY On many occasions, I had the privilege of serving Uncle Mathew and his family. Sometimes, I was his chauffeur, at other times I was his “Man Friday”, and occasionally I’ve made tea for him (he taught me how to make tea). Serving him on a personal level, gave me immense joy. This joy is a key ingredient for a healthy FATHERSON relationship. Uncle Mathew passed on the following to me: Admin responsibilities
In the initial days, when our cluster of churches got registered, there was a lot of office/admin work that Uncle Mathew entrusted to me. We worked together for a long time. I learned much from Uncle Mathew’s meticulous way of administration. Foundation course
He gave me the privilege of taking a few young people through the Foundation course. He trusted me with the lives of his people. I guess he believed I would impart to them all that he had imparted to me. Discipling Others
He allowed me to disciple one of his youth. He trusted me to care for / nurture his church members. The grace with which I discipled others, came out of the grace that I received from him.
On many occasions he allowed me to work with him in coordinating and organizing some of our various
church events. Gradually, he also included me in key decision-making and other leadership roles. This matured into a relationship where he permitted me to do a major part of organising, and he became an overseer rather than a worker. Guest Hospitality
Uncle Mathew often permitted me to interact with guests, and take care of their needs. Initially, he would include me in his interactions, and gradually, he trusted me to interact with them in his absence. This is where I learned his generosity. Friction
It’s not all been smooth sailing. Of course we have had our moments of friction, difference of opinions, and arguments. Our personalities were compatible in many areas, but in some areas we did not see eye to eye. In many ways, he had to adapt his training to my particular set of circumstances. Because he needed to let me run, he had to let go of the reins. This obviously caused friction from time to time. I had new ideas, and he was compelled to note it, and let go of old ways. But ultimately, both of us were clear that nothing would break our relationship. There may have been arguments, but there were also apologies. We would adapt and adjust, with God's grace, but not give up on our relationship. Conclusion
Today, as I look back, I realize that in some areas I was unprepared for the new responsibilities. The time when I was asked to start a church with two others, I now realize that I needed more grooming. This became more pronounced when the other two left and I was all alone. I was often stressed, lacking direction and any clear plan. My passion to plant a church kept me going, till I realised I had to become accountable to my overseer, and he helped me overcome my struggles. As I look ahead, I desire to exemplify 2 Timothy 2:2 and have therefore started praying that I would prove to be faithful and ready, when the time comes, to hand over what God has entrusted to me.
A true test of the gospel application is seen in succession - in the health of what we leave behind. Its a biblical way to measure success. If we build a church that fragments upon transfer, how does that glorify God or really serve the next generation? It doesn’t. Transfer isn't about merely protecting programs or salvaging a legacy. It is about preserving the gospel and passing it on to others. - Dave Harvey, Rescuing Ambition.
virjil selvan |
Passing the baton at every level
Virjil Selvan is the Dean of YTC. at GMI. He is married to Sandra and also pastors the GMI church in Panvel, Mumbai..
GMI Training Centre
My wife, Sandra and me, never dreamt that God would move us to the GMI Training Centre. It started with a small, project of coordinating the Street Children’s Ministry, every Sunday evening for a couple of hours. This was besides other tasks, like budgeting, planning, setting the curriculum, etc. My pastor/discipler spent time guiding me in my personal journey with God and church. He helped me grow in leadership, pruned me where needed, and at the same time encouraged me to be innovative. This encouraged us to be risk takers. We took initiative, led a team, got feedback from our teammates, who helped us to improve, though it was not pleasant all the time. Our egos were often bruised; there were conflicts of ideas, and disagreements. However, this taught us the importance of a team over independent functioning, painful as it was. The grooming process
My predecessor had made plans to move and I was tasked to learn how
the system functioned at the GMI Training Centre. Although, this happened rather suddenly, having been a student of the Centre, I had some insight. In the meanwhile, we learnt all that we could, and our GMI Training Coordination Team was available to help us sort out what we did not know. However, this brought about more innovation and creativity. We did things differently, which was well backed up and supported by our Team. There were times when we were corrected, which helped us to see the big picture. Preparing to hand over
Our journey, after we took over, was made easier as we were able to see the Kingdom Vision. We still had to rely on the grace and wisdom of God. It was a new challenge for us. We sought God, even for the smallest of decisions. We thought we were too young, just married, and unaware of how our trainees would respond to us. In God’s abundant mercy, our very first batch was vibrant and very receptive. We grew as trainers, learning to handle group conflicts 18
virjil selvan | within the team. We encouraged quality and creativity in their assignments. We learned that everyone is different from each other, but they are all important. On the family front, we as a couple, worked as a team. Our routines changed and weekends were busy. It was still very enjoyable and our home became a happening place. Since, the GMI Training Programme has a long term vision; we knew that we have to prepare a ‘Joshua’. This began by parallely training someone, on the job, by involving them in decision making, in planning, obtaining feedback, and also implementing it. We give them opportunities to explore. This year we started something interesting. It’s an onthe-job training, and anyone can join us to support/help us for the entire year. The purpose is to include them in decision making; practical ways of observing us function, and envision them for the Kingdom. What we have realised is that, to lead a training programme, we ourselves need to become students. This gives us a clearer picture of both roles (Trainer and Trainee). Our goal is to equip the next person, not just theoretically but practically as well. Looking forward
We believe, ‘Passing the baton’ is a very crucial phase and involves finding a suitable successor, who will continue to take the work forward with excellence and dedication. Panvel Church: Our Training Ground
When we were in Colaba, we observed our pastor and his hectic lifestyle. We observed how he would come way before the Sunday service, to help out, and wherever, there was need he would fill the gap. It was exciting to learn from his servant leadership. He made demands on us too, for Missions, to accompany him on visits and for DLC (Dynamic Leadership Course) training. It was very hectic, as I worked Monday to Friday. Saturday was the only day off, and I had other personal commitments and I would find myself exhausted. However the hard work and extra hours paid off. As we look back today, we understand that he was preparing us for a greater purpose. On Sundays, we were involved in many aspects of the worship service, but we never got an opportunity to preach. We were given an opportunity to lead worship once or twice. We learnt that leadership was not visibility from the pulpit alone but also through the several opportunities for service that we do unto the Lord,
especially when no one is watching. We were also part of the Sunday school team for a period of time. It helped us to understand the investment that a church has to make in small children. These were days of fun with children; however, it was hectic as well as we had to be in church early morning for Sunday School Teachers’ Devotion. Our Sundays were packed. After Sunday school, we would help out with church set up, and then attend the service. We lead the Youth group for a short time. We would go for street children’s ministry in the evening. Considering the fact that we lived in the suburbs and had to travel to South Mumbai, the Sunday schedule stretched from 6.00 am till 10.00 pm. When we look back, it was a good preparation for us and we are grateful to God that we could endure it, because, it’s the same today, having taken over the Panvel Church. Predecessor
The new responsibility with the Panvel church plant began the very day of our predecessor’s farewell. We were invited to conduct games that evening. However, we were introduced as the new occupants of the GMI Bungalow. The guests who were invited were from various places, but were not members of the church then. When we were leaving that evening, we took their contact numbers. We followed up and kept in touch with them. Our Journey
When we began the first Sunday service in April, 2014, there was only one couple whom we were in touch with in Panvel church. Then, a harvest event was hosted immediately after our wedding, using the opportunity to invite neighbours and friends. It was exciting as on that day 25 of them responded. Three newly wed couples, were added to our church. We spend our Sundays, building relationships. We would have lunch together after the church service (which was held in our home) We four couples, would stay back after the meal, to play a few games. This helped us to bond together. Within a year we grew and found our home too small to accommodate so many people for Sunday worship service and so moved into a new hall. We started with one cell but that doubled and cell members shouldered the responsibility, taking leadership, getting trained and equipped for passing on the baton in future. God has been good to us, to give us people, and making His church grow.
An organisation becomes a monument to a leader’s outsized ego, when it falls apart in his absence - Jim Collins, Good to Great
When the baton is not passed Learning from church history
Each time the government in my hometown changes, we get new faces in seats of authority, new buildings or the tearing down of existing ones, new names or name reversals and new policies! The ‘old has gone, the new is come’ is taken very literally in politics and leaves the innocent citizen gasping for breath and trying to cope with all that’s happening. Well, fortunately we do not have a similar situation in the body of Christ… or do we? When succession is not done the right way, one of two things could happen. a) Failure or b) Delayed Success Karen is married to Nathan and lives in Powai. She works in the Quality Assurance division of Cognizant Technology Solutions and worships at the Bombay Baptist Church, Colaba. Baking, travelling and tweeting are some of her recent favorites.
While delayed success is more of an exception than the norm, the former is more likely to happen. Let us look at some causes of an improper transition, and learn from those who did it well 1. Lack of a clear succession plan: The senior elder, of a 400
member church in Andhra Pradesh known for his faithful ministry and superior administration skills successfully spearheaded his church’s ministry for many decades. Being a first-generation evangelist and having worked with several foreign missionaries, he had impacted the entire district by planting multiple churches. Sadly, with his demise, the church eldership, in trying to fill the huge vacuum created by his death, battled for power, causing much friction, confusion and bad reputation. The power struggle continued leading to the sad and untimely death of one of the elders involved in this mayhem. Many families left the church in the process; and those left behind couldn’t fellowship and see eye to eye. Success, truly, depends on effective succession that is planned years in advance, and executed intentionally.
2 . W h e n p r a y e r i s n ’ t t h e foundation: God ‘tells’ Moses to appoint Joshua to succeed him;
karen | David, confidently, tells Solomon that he was ‘God’s choice’; and similarly, God ‘tells’ Elijah to appoint Elisha in his place. Jesus himself chose and appointed the 12 disciples after a long consultation with His heavenly father. We can end up with Saul and not David when in times of transition, God's guidance is not sought. 3. A fresh face but inconsistent values/unclear vision: Paul urged his friends to embrace Timothy as they would have embraced him and argues that Timothy had served with him, as a son with a father, and that he knew his ways in Christ. David’s lifelong dream and heart’s desire became Solomon’s intense passion. Moses was speaking to the people of Israel who were about to enter the Promised Land. These people were new generations born during the 40 years in the wilderness. They did not witness at first hand God’s deliverance from Egypt. They would be just excited to live in a new land flowing with honey and milk. Moses was really concerned about this future generation and was teaching them important lessons through the book of Deuteronomy. Remembering and re-telling our history and reinstating the vision and values God has entrusted in our hearts is so crucial in passing on the baton to the next generation of leaders.
4. Trained only to watch, not to run: Jesus chose 12 disciples to be with him for three years. In the context of a relationship, He molded them into godly - servant leaders - who would turn the world “upside down” for Him. He made them serve in various ways and in different capacities - from serving food to getting the Passover meal ready, to performing miracles and much more. He took them everywhere, and did everything along with them. Paul trained Silas and Timothy, took them on his missionary journeys, sent letters through them, spoke positively about them to his churches and
even sent them on his behalf, at times. The new leader will find it intimidating if he has not been trained to run the race – there’s a great chasm between knowing to run and running the race itself. 5. Not leading by example: King David not only exhorted the people to build a temple, he made it clear that he had poured his own financial resources into the vision (1 Chron. 29:3). Mother Teresa led by example and showed the path to sacrificial serving. She successfully passed the baton on to Sister Nirmala by living an exemplary life of service that was visible to the whole world. After taking over the charity following Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, sister Nirmala expanded the organization’s reach to 134 countries by opening centers in nations such as Afghanistan, Israel and Thailand.
6. Holding on to the wrong end of the baton: In a successful transition, the bottom half of the baton is held firm by the current runner while the upper half is free for the next lap runner to take hold of – this gives the new runner more freedom and visibility. Letting the new leader plan, strategize, take decisions, make mistakes and run the race while being cheered along the way, is so important in making a smooth transition. Fear of failure and fear of becoming irrelevant are attitudes to watch out for while allowing the successor to freely take up the reins of the ministry.
Conclusion: Each of us is called to serve for a season and how well we have done, will depend to a large extent on how well we prepared for succession. May it be our passion to prepare successors who will do better than we have so that there is an enduring godly legacy for future generations
YALT - Vizag
rajesh mathew |
How not to pass the baton? As a sprinter, I had the privilege of participating in relay race when in school. It’s a track event which involves teamwork and yet the shortcomings of a single person can put the whole team’s performance at stake. At times good teams have lost only because the baton was not passed well. In the Christian life, there always comes a time the baton is passed on to a successor. However, successful transitions need attention to how and when the baton is passed. A few things to be taken care of while passing the baton. •
Rajesh Mathew works as an Electrical Supervisor in the Naval Dockyard at Mumbai and also oversees a group of Hindi churches of GMI. He is married to Lily and they are blessed with two daughters Rhea and Sanya.
Failure to pass a vision: Passing the baton without an accompanying VISION could be catastrophic. Vision serves as a clear guide for choosing future and current courses of action to take the movement ahead. The person who receives the baton should know which direction to run. It’s easier to pass the baton than to pass the vision. Vision is actually instilling a direction. Communicating the vision means practically living the vision; you “walk the talk" rather than just "talk the talk". The leader
motivates his followers to model behaviours that are consistent with the vision. It also means in many ways knowing or carrying the predecessor’s heart, because it’s not just the baton being carried but carrying the leader’s heart. Thus passing the vision involves spending time together, sharing (sharing of ideas, thoughts, stories, experiences and life),working together on a project, participating in each o t h e r ’s l i v e s , b e c o m i n g vulnerable, doing things so that your successor can see you and learn from you., Vision is not taught, but caught. Passing the baton would take only few minutes, but passing the vision would require a relationship of mutual respect. It is the mentoring model found in the Bible. The Bible is full of mentorprotégé models: Moses and Joshua, Mordecai and Esther, Elijah and Elisha, Eli and Samuel and many others. Biblical mentoring emphasizes relationship more than teaching. If we take the time to mentor, we will not have to worry about
rajesh mathew | losing our ministry, position, authority or respect. On the contrary, those we mentor will maintain relationship with us and will carry our VISION. •
Passing the baton to the wrong person: In a relay race, the baton is passed to a runner, not to a boxer, a wrestler or a pole vaulter. No matter how good they may be, you pass the baton to someone who runs the relay. Choose a successor who is running with you. Like Jesus did before choosing his twelve disciples, prayer is essential in choosing successors .Do not choose based on giftings, charisma or the outward appearance. It has to be somebody who can carry the good work you did to the next level, somebody who is like minded, somebody who is a son, and not nephew. Choosing the right person also implies giving birth to sons and daughters. It’s easy to pass the baton to your spiritual sons and daughters because they carry your DNA. It requires deliberate effort to raise up spiritual children. It may be difficult, but very important if you want to pass the baton to the right person. Many times after raising up sons, we end up only having nephews. In that case, you need to introspect whether you were a father or you remained an uncle, because fathers will produce sons and uncles will raise nephews. The apostle Paul said there are many teachers, but very few fathers. Nurturing a father-son relationship will always lead you to the right person to whom you could pass the baton.
Abrupt transition: There is a difference between dropping and passing. You can either pass the baton correctly or drop the baton by being careless. Dropping the baton happens when you are not ready and you have not done the preparation for it and do it abruptly. Passing the Baton should be conceived through much prayer. It must be planned, announced appropriately and correctly timed so that people concerned receive it joyfully. In a culture where leaders do not willingly relinquish power, a leader who has a vision will have to overcome insecurity and fear of the future of the ministry when he decides it is time to pass the baton. Passing the baton prematurely: Before passing the baton one must ensure that you have run your lap of the race. A 4 X 100 relay race means each runner has to finish running 100 mtrs before he can pass the baton to the next person.2 Tim 4:7 “I have finished the course”. Sometimes, we tend to act as pioneers, start something and pass it prematurely to somebody without even completing our stretch of the race and without equipping the next person. Remember that it is easier to start, than to maintain momentum. So, run your full course of race and pass the baton at the “exchange zone”. Early exchange results in disqualification from the race.
When a leader fails to properly equip and disciple those who are to succeed him, the work of Christ will eventually suffer and decline as the vision and values would not have been passed on completely or with clarity.
Remote controlling: Once you pass the baton, your role changes. You have finished your race but you now become a cheer leader who keeps encouraging the work of the successor. You can’t control his race. Let him strategise, let him take decisions, let him run the race the way he wants and let him make mistakes. From the sidelines you show commitment even after you have given your best and you are still available without curbing the successor’s freedom.
Lack of momentum: Before you actually pass the baton, there is a period when the incoming and the outgoing runner run in stride together, so that the momentum is built for the baton transition. Let the world know that he is your successor, take him along where you go, involve him in what you do, assign him roles, delegate authority, send him to represent you, so that he learns and adjusts to fit into your shoes. Paul promoted and honoured Timothy as a true son in spite of his youth.
Nepotism and favouritism: Spiritual inheritance is for spiritual children. This however does not imply that biological children can’t be spiritual children. However the tendency to promote a leader’s children raises doubts in people’s minds and creates unpleasantness. On the other hand, it’s not necessary that your ‘Yes’ men, whom you favour, would prove to be good successors.
Foot note for successors: Understand the importance of waiting. “Waiting for God and waiting on your predecessor” Exodus 33:11 Joshua would wait in the tabernacle. I believe the reason the Lord chose Joshua is that he remained in God’s glory presence when it would have been easy to seek the glory of man. I would like to suggest that Joshua’s value for the presence of God is what made him stand head and shoulders above everybody else around him. He wasn’t in leadership for the recognition of man. He wasn’t in it even for the thrill of Moses’ encounters with God. Joshua stayed at the tent because of his love for God’s presence, his love for His glory. Similarly, Elisha waited on Elijah. (2 kings 2) Elisha received a double portion of anointing because he remained inseparable from his predecessor. As successors we need to embrace the concept of waiting both on God and on our leader.