helping churches steward
key leadership transitions

How do we keep the transition from harming the church? identify and find a succesor? communicate with our people? manage the transition process? respond if the Pastor gets hit by a bus? help our Pastor transition well?

Pastoral succession is one of the biggest stewardship
challenges facing the Church in the next 10 years.

Sherpa's succession planning resources are organized around six key topics

We call these "The 6 Succession Planning Conversations"

Protecting Organizational Continuity

Anticipating and addressing potential areas that could be disruptive during a season of transition

Transition Strategy Management

Establishing a defined plan for how to project manage the leadership transition process

New Leader Hiring

Developing a profile, advertising the position, vetting candidates, negotiating the offer, and onboarding of the successor

Communicate Transition Effectively

Communicating in such a way as to embed confidence in the process and continued investment into the ministry

Emergency Transition Management

Writing a policy that guides the preparation for and response to an unplanned transition

Proactive Exit Planning

Helping the transitioning leader (and their spouse!) prepare for their next season of influence

Recommended Steps for Getting Started

step 1: sTART WITH the Bible

The Bible doesn’t contain a “How To” manual for succession. There are, however, stories to learn from and principles to be applied. We can’t think of a more appropriate starting point than scripture!

This resource spotlights 11 specific Bible Passages to consider as you navigate your journey. (No charge – it’s already in the Bible!)

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Succession planning is a complex and often emotional process. Having a clear path to follow is necessary to maintain focus as your team moves forward.  The O.D.E.G.I. Transition Model resource provides a method to follow and assists in identifying the most critical areas to focus on.

STEP 3: start the conversation

The O.D.E.G.I. Transition Model download in Step 2 helped you identify the two succession related conversations to focus on at this time. 

Next, select the conversation link provided. You will be directed to a page that describes this conversation in greater detail. It will also outline the details of the online resource we offer.

Step 4 (Optional): coaching sessions

We are confident our online resources provide incredible value. But sometimes, the most effective option is to schedule a time to talk.

Why Video-Based Coaching?

We understand a video-based coaching format may be new to you.
Here are some reasons why we chose this format.

  1. Price Point – A traditional on-site consulting model is expensive and not accessible to the vast majority of churches in America. We want to be able to serve churches of any size, not just the ones that can afford higher-priced consulting options.
  2. Ease of Access – It can be difficult to coordinate the schedules of volunteer leaders. Online resources allow your team to access the material at their pace and refer back to it as needed.
  3. Being present with our families – Being a road warrior is difficult for families. The time we have with our kids is precious. Our team wants to maximize every opportunity as we have younger children….and wives we absolutely adore!
  4. Personal Local Church Ministry – After 17 years of local church ministry, the Lord opened the door for Will to begin succession coaching. During this time his primary ministry was to the Big-C Church. In essence, he pastored Pastors. The Lord has clearly showed him it is time to reengage with a local church. To do so, he needed to create a coaching model that allows him to do that!

Who is Sherpa?

About us

Our Story

The topic of succession planning landed on Will Heath’s radar in 2007. Since that time he has commissioned Barna to conduct two national surveys on succession and coached hundreds of ministry leaders in churches ranging from 50 members to over 15,000.

It is our conviction that succession planning is one of the biggest stewardship challenges facing the Church in North America in the next 7-10 years. We are working hard to help equip ministry leaders to steward their transitions well.

Sherpa helps churches steward key leadership transitions

The sherpa difference

Sherpa’s methodology is built on six foundational concepts formed over a decade of working with ministries navigating key leadership transitions. These Core Concepts inform our business model and every client interaction.