Book Review: Next: Pastoral Succession That Works

NEXTWilliam Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird have teamed up for the writing of NEXT: Pastoral Succession That Works – a book to help churches and church leaders prepare for the inevitable change in the pastoral leadership of their local church.

The authors are pointed in their emphasis that the topic of pastoral succession cannot be ignored because “Every pastor is an interim pastor…Planning for that day of succession may be the biggest leadership task a leader and church will ever face.  It may also be the most important” (p 9).

NEXT continues to drive the point powerfully and articulately from the introduction through the “Three Essential Questions” of chapter three.  As I read the introduction and first chapters, I was captured the the vision of the book and convinced that the principles of NEXT would be something that could and should be discussed in my church as we continue to plan for the future.

Though the authors present their work as being applicable for both large and small congregations, as I continued to read through the remaining chapters I found (with the exception of chapters eleven and fourteen) that most of the examples and ideas appeared to assume a church with a congregation size in the hundreds, if not thousands.  Having spent almost all of my church service life in churches smaller than those the book’s apparent focus, I found several chapters seemingly sadly irrelevant to the pastor or lay-leadership team with a congregation of 100 or fewer.

Overall, I believe that the purpose and vision of the book is necessary and something that church leadership teams ignore to their own personal and congregational peril.  There are some very applicable principles for churches of any size, but those who will get the most out of the book will be those leading churches with at least several hundred people regularly engaged in the congregation.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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