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The Path of Succession 

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by Dan Leischner, Elder Chairman

Who We Are-sm
During our “Kitchen Meeting” with the congregation last year, Ken shared his desire to embark on a process to find the next Lead Pastor. As Ken transitions into retirement at some point in the future, it’s wise for us to plan for the expected. The Elder Team (which includes Ken) has spent considerable time and energy over the past several months considering how to approach the transition to the next Lead Pastor.

To prepare for a new Lead Pastor, our Team has looked at where we are as a congregation, who we are as an Elder Team, and where God is calling us to go. Over the past 18+ months, the Elder Team has assessed the strengths and gifts of our Team, and we have discussed the type of new team member that we need to help us fulfill our mission and vision. We know that we need a dynamic, action-oriented person who can help us map out an outreach strategy to impact our community in a new way. We want to find a catalytic leader who can work with our Team to rally everyone behind a bold new strategy for our church. 
We have developed an initial job summary and this summary has been distributed to several seminaries, Bible schools and churches. We have received a number of resumes and we have talked with several candidates from across the country. When we identify a strong candidate (or candidates), we will introduce them to the larger church population for further review and confirmation. The Elders are conducting an initial review of potential candidates, and then we will rely on the members of our church to confirm God’s leading.

Ken is a key member of our Elder Team, and he is very involved in the process of identifying the next Lead Pastor.  Ken’s insight and experience are crucial to helping us discern who should serve in this role.  When we are ready to make the transition, Ken will pass the leadership mantle to this new leader, and Ken will continue to serve in a key role on staff.
Rather than wait several more years to identify a new leader and enact a new strategy (that is, wait until Ken actually retires), we see a benefit and an urgency to act now. By starting this process now, we know that we do not need to rush to make a decision. By having time to carefully and prayerfully listen for God’s leading, we can be confident that God will show us clearly who our next lead pastor will be.

Change, especially change in a leadership role as important as the Senior/Lead Pastor, could cause us to be anxious; it could create fear of the unknown. God’s word tells us that we don’t need to fear anything; that we don’t need to be anxious for anything. God is working in Canby Christian Church to prepare us for what He wants us to do, and we know that we can trust Him. We know that He has good plans for us.

Change also brings good things. Change will allow us to experience new growth, new ideas, and new people joining our family. In fact, when something is growing (such as a tree, a person, or a church), then it is also changing–you can’t grow without also changing. We can be excited about the growth and changes God is bringing because He never brings us to a different path simply for the sake of change, but so that we might flourish. God is calling Canby Christian to grow in how we love each other and grow in how we love our community, which will powerfully expand our impact as we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.