Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Robert Greer


Pastoral Leadership, Succession Planning, Transition, Qualitative Research, Leadership


Christianity | Leadership Studies | Religion


A pastoral succession plan will address the issues of who will be responsible for leading the respective congregation if something happens to the current Pastor. Without clear direction, leaders leave their flocks in precarious positions. The problem is that churches may not have a concise succession plan to identify a qualified leader to take up the leadership mantle. The study will lay the foundation from a biblical perspective on the importance of identifying a leader’s successor and the advantages of providing a smooth transition for the assembly. The research will stress the importance of pastors not only identifying their successors but having a clear transition strategy that has been vetted and approved. The researcher will conduct online surveys and interview pastors regarding their succession plans. The study will address the role church governance plays if the current leader is incapacitated or unable to carry out their pastoral leader responsibilities. The data collected and analyzed will compare how succession planning has been utilized and its impact on successful leadership transition. Data analysis and interpretation will address the importance of proper transition planning and provide a template for leadership succession planning.