10 principles of leadership transition

(L–r): Young leader Judit Menendez and YABs Committee member Jantine Brouwer-Huisman at a retreat of the Anabaptist church in Spain (AMyHCE – Anabaptists, Mennonites and Brothers in Christ of Spain). Photo: Henk Stenvers.

The Bible tells stories of leadership transition: Moses walked with Joshua and prepared him to lead the Israelites; stories in the books of Kings tell of less wise approaches to the end of ministry.

Healthy leadership transition is as necessary today as ever. There are several necessary elements: the call of God and a willingness and humility to serve and be served – on both the part of the upcoming leader and those transitioning out.

At their annual leaders meeting 24–26 February 2018, the Anabaptist church in Spain (AMyHCE – Anabaptists, Mennonites and Brothers in Christ of Spain) discerned these 10 principles about Christ-like leadership and how to develop it in the next generation.

  1. We have to fight with ourselves to overcome our history and our tendency, and return to the life of the first disciples and the early church.
  2. It is important to know your own gifts (both natural and spiritual) and to be recognized by others, to allow it to grow.
  3. It is important to be models to each other and to convey the hope of serving God and not only the burden.
  4. It is fundamental to awaken the thirst of God in young people.
  5. In the New Testament, there were no pastors: we do not need great pastors but a lot of little servants eager to serve God.
  6. Young people need resources as they work their gifts, listen to God and launch themselves into service.
  7. Young people should never walk alone. There must be someone at their side to offer security, instruction, confidence and pick them up if they fall.
  8. It’s better to start changing together now, starting with empowering young people who are already serving in ministry.
  9. Discipleship is a process of journeying together with each other and with Jesus. It requires dedication and commitment, and an understanding of relationship (recognition of one’s authority and how to submit).
  10. Guidance is a gift that experienced people can give.

“Dialogue is always good, and even more so when there is a shared goal in mind,” says Judit Menéndez Olalla, a young leader who participated in the event.

“Experienced leaders should desire even more than the youth that the wheel turns and the torch is passed on.  The fact that a number of youth were invited to participate in this retreat has been practical evidence that their desire to work and serve with us is real.

“The greatest challenge is not actually in the generational handover, it is in learning to work together.”

—A Mennonite World Conference release by Karla Braun

12 Jul 2018 - 10:58am