Church Succession Planning
As a church leader, you have poured your soul into your congregation. You live and breathe ministry and devote all your efforts to advancing the kingdom of God.
Have you ever stopped to think about the day when church leadership passes into someone else’s hands? You may think you have many years until retirement. However, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences”. (Proverbs 27:12)
Terrence G. Quinn, founder and president of The TGQ Law Firm in Ann Arbor, MI, explains why all congregations, whether they have 10 or 10,000 members, need a comprehensive church succession plan for a smooth transition to help continue the advancement of the Kingdom.
The Responsibility of Church Leadership
Planning for any scenario is a vital part of responsible church leadership. This includes both temporary absences and permanent leadership shifts due to death, retirement, or severe illness.
Would your church administration be able to run the ministry smoothly without you? Who will step into your shoes if you are gone for several months? Does your church have a clear outline of both day-to-day operations and broad future goals?
You may think, “I am working with wise, dependable people. They will know what to do if I’m no longer here.” While this is a comforting notion, the sudden loss of a leader can throw a congregation into confusion, chaos, and conflict.
As a pastor, you have a duty to your flock. You must ensure that your church keeps serving its people even when you’re not there to oversee the work. To do that, you need a church succession plan.
Church Succession Planning Law Firm
At The TGQ Law Firm, we work with church leaders to develop a church succession plan that will help preserve the ministry’s holy work. Your church needs the right tools to keep advancing the great commission no matter what happens.
We can help you:
- Understand your ministry’s current structure
- Develop an up-to-date church constitution and clear bylaws
- Outline the process that helps appoint a candidate for senior church leadership
- Foresee and prepare for challenges in leadership transition
As Luke 12:48 says, “For everyone to whom much is given, much will be required”, and a good servant-leader knows their responsibility to maintain order during senior leadership shifts in the church. Take the first step toward securing your church legacy by contacting The TGQ Law Firm to discuss your church succession plan.
Create An Avenue For Giving
Contributions such as tithes and donations may play an important role in your church stewardship. Creating a trusted avenue for giving can encourage your congregation to practice generosity as a part of serving the Lord.
Financial order, responsibility, and transparency are vital for churches that:
- Strive to promote giving for worthy goals
- Aim to create endowment funds (i.e., devoting money from church donors to serve a specific cause)
- Process charitable bequests that deceased members may leave to the church in a will or trust
Working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help your church stay on top of laws that involve bequests, inheritance taxes, or any financial matters. Since churches count as nonprofit entities, they need to comply with specific regulations in fundraising, contracts, and additional revenue. We can help make sure your church adheres to lawful financial practices and avoids conflicts of interest.
Prevent Chaos In The Kingdom or Crisis At Home
The death of a loved and respected pastor is always a tragedy for a congregation. During this sad time, the church administration has a responsibility to mitigate conflict and prevent chaos. Church succession planning can help a church community cope with losing a leader.
A church administration may need to reach complicated decisions following a pastor’s death. For example, the widowed wife and the deceased pastor’s children may be living in a home that belongs to the church. How soon would they need to move out and how would the church support them?
If you are a retiring pastor preparing a successor, do you plan to maintain any position of involvement in the church following retirement?
A church succession plan should provide answers to these questions and more. Succession planning helps congregations handle leadership transitions with grace.
The TGQ Law Firm | Church Succession Planning | Close To Our Heart & Clear In Our Mind
Every senior pastor must prepare for the day when they step down from church headship. A comprehensive succession plan will ensure security and stability for your congregation during leadership changes.
Terrence Quinn, an estate planning attorney based in Ann Arbor, MI, is also an ordained pastor who has served in multiple positions in the church. Terrence is passionate about helping churches in Michigan and across the United States come up with simple planning for difficult times.