How To Ensure A Godly Transfer Of Power

After all of the anticipation, fear, and celebration, it has finally arrived: the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Whatever position you have taken during the campaign and since the election, this day is a significant one for many reasons. While it would be easy to get down into the mud and argue about whether this is the right man for the job, I want to take a different approach and discuss the actual transfer of power.

transfer of power

[NOTE: I will continue my series on a Godly Decision Making Process next week.]

200 Years of Success!

The United States has successfully managed a peaceful, mostly civil, transfer of power from one President to the next for over two centuries. That is truly an amazing feat if you stop to think about it! Few companies ever truly get this transfer of power accomplished once or twice, but our country will have done it 44 times after today. This is a big deal!

Of course, you don’t come here to read interesting perspectives on U.S. history. So, what does this have to do with you as a Christian business leader? Why should this transfer of power be so important to you? For the answer to those questions, let’s take a look at why this has worked so well for our country AND how the Bible shows us similar examples.

Intentional, Detailed Plan

First, there is a very simple reason that the United States has successfully managed a peaceful transfer of power for over 200 years. There is a very intentional, detailed plan in place that we have followed closely over this same period of time. We don’t have the time or need to go into all of the details of that plan, but it is clear that the plan works. Regardless of whether you believe the best candidate has always transitioned into office, there is no arguing that the transition works.

So, what about the examples from the Bible? Why are those important?

Why Is Transfer Of Power Important?

Before I answer that, let’s make sure we are clear as to why this topic is important to you as a Christian business leader. It is my belief (more recently learned and understood) that our most important responsibility as leaders is to ensure the vision of our company or organization continues successfully beyond our tenure as leaders.

In other words, it is up to us to make sure someone comes behind us in leadership, takes up the God-given vision of our company, and continues to lead in that direction.

Have you ever stopped and thought about that?

Have you considered what that should look like for your organization?

A Bigger Problem Than You Realize!

If you are like me, you have probably allowed the chaos and concerns of the present to keep your focus from the more important future. Unfortunately, too many leaders wait until it is too late to begin thinking about a successful transfer of power in their organization. As a result, it either does not happen or it does not happen well.

For some, this is due to pride and arrogance. For others it might be paranoia or fear. For most of us, it is simply a matter of misplaced priorities. We just do not see the eventual transfer of power as something to be worked on today. We may intellectually acknowledge the importance of this transfer, but we put it to the back burner to work on “later”. Unfortunately, this is a much bigger problem than many realize.

Examples From Scripture

So that you do not think I am making this into more than it should be, let’s take a look a just a few examples from Scripture. I don’t have the space to expand on each one, so I encourage those you who are serious about your leadership to read each passage on your own. Hopefully, you will see from these examples that this responsibility is huge AND that it is YOURS!

  • Moses to Joshua (Num. 27:18–23; Deut. 31:7–8; 34:9)
  • Elijah to Elisha (1 Kings 19:15-21; 2 Kings 2:1-15)
  • David to Solomon (1 Kings 2:1-4)
  • Jesus to the Disciples (Matthew 4:18-22; 28:16-20; Luke 6:12-16)

Intentional Time And Effort

As you can see from these examples, Scripture directs us as leaders to ensure the God-given vision does not die when we exit our position. Instead, if it is indeed a worthy vision, then we must ensure it continues beyond our own leadership.

I also hope you noticed that in each example the leader did not simply choose a successor and hand off the baton. Instead, each example shows us a leader who spent intentional time and effort with their successors. In each case, he (or He) spent extended time with the successors, doing life with them and teaching them the skills and mindset they needed for future success. The leaders also taught their successors that the ultimate guidance should come from the Lord.

Not Optional

We MUST follow these examples. This is NOT something we can put off until later. It is NOT something we can leave to someone else to figure out. I encourage you to begin praying for guidance on how you can start now in creating an intentional, detailed plan for transfer of power in your organization.

In closing, check out this quote from What Makes A Leader Great by Russ Crosson:

A good measurement of whether someone is really a great leader or just a great contributor to an entity is what happens after the leader is gone. Does the mission carry on or does it die? If the entity doesn’t carry on, then that person wasn’t a great leader in the biblical sense. He or she was simply someone who was very good at what he or she did. They had fans, not followers.


What is your current plan for leadership succession?

Do you see the long-term benefit of the necessary short-term effort?

What needs to happen next to create or improve your plan?


Photo by carterdayne/iStock

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