Reflecting On Our First Pastoral Succession Bootcamp

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (August 29/30 2017) Auxano conducted our first Pastoral Succession Bootcamp. Ministry teams from California, Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas registered to spend 2-days working through the Succession Planning Workbook with the goal of designing their church’s transition strategy.

The basic idea with the Bootcamp was to do for a group of churches over 2-days what I normally do 1-on-1 with a client over 8 hours. Each church that registered was allowed to bring up to five people. Here is a basic outline for the things we covered:

Day 1: Each team talked through four critical areas that can either protect or hinder organizational continuity in a season of pastoral transition.

Day 2: We talked through different ways leaders navigate transition and covered five critical areas to account for when developing the plan for implementation.

I have been working with the leaders at our host church, Fellowship Dallas, this summer on developing a communication plan and an onboarding strategy for their transition. Four of their leaders carved out time to hang out and participate in a panel Q&A.

I had a blast with these leaders. And, based on their feedback, they thought the experience was worth their time and money. We sent a follow-up survey to everyone in attendance. One of the questions we asked was, “Overall, what did you like best about the Boot Camp?” Here are a few of the responses.

The conceptual view of succession planning, including the different tools for assessment, made realize this is bigger than simply hiring someone to fill a role. – Buddy, Lay Leader in Alabama
The way the teaching material was well organized was very practical. The first day built a solid foundation and the second day’s practical application made so much sense. – Danny, Senior Pastor in Alabama
The two days were very productive. There was no filler, just need-to-know information. – Renee, Current Intentional Interim in Texas
I have tended to focus primarily on the church and the details of the change over. This helped me to see how to consider our pastor’s needs in the coming months. – Jera, Executive Director in Oklahoma
I think our denominational leaders need to go through this seminar. – Ryan, Staff Pastor in Michigan
Here are some pictures from the second day.
Panel Q&A – Listed left-to-right are with Joe Harn (Chairman of the Elders), Tommy Shelton (Executive Pastor), Gary Brandenburg (Lead Pastor), and Kurt Pressler (Successor).
PSB - panel - 2
PSB - panel - 1
At the tables working through the Succession Planning Workbook. At this point in the day we are working through the Five Essential Signposts.

PSB - table work - 5PSB - table work - 1

Here are a few pictures of me facilitating. Notice the use of flip charts. One of the participants commented that he appreciated the “low tech” nature of teaching the information. Using the flip charts throughout the day keeps the content visible throughout the process. This keeps all the information accessible so they can see how everything connects.
PSB - Will facilitating - 2PSB - flip charts - 2