guiding leadership transitions

Prepare the ministry. Care for people. Lead with confidence.

InformingPerspective

EstablishingProcess

IntegratingTools

Are you a denominational or associational leader?

Our desire is to work with you, not around you, by offering training and support to help you serve your churches.

In 2016 we began looking for solutions to guide our churches as they navigate the topic of succession planning. When I met Will Heath it was clear he was the person to help us. His knowledge of succession and his genuine desire to serve Pastors and the churches they lead is unique!
Dr. Dana Allin
Synod Executive – ECO

The 6 Succession Planning Conversations

Protecting Organizational Continuity

Anticipating and addressing areas that could potentially cause disruption during a season of transition

Transition Strategy Management

Establishing a defined plan for how to project manage the "nuts and bolts" of the leadership transition process

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

New Leader
Hiring

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

Proactive Exit
Planning

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

40% of pastors surveyed indicated they will transition out of their current role in the next year.
Of these, 61% do not have a clear plan for how they will manage the process.
Succession Planning Research
(Commissioned by Sherpa, Conducted byThe Barna Group)

Perspective

The organizational complexity of the local church, combined with the number of leaders approaching retirement age, is forcing ministry leaders (in local churches, denominations, and associations) to reimagine the way they approach the topic of succession planning.

Investing in research is one of the ways we resource ministry leaders as they look for practical succession planning solutions.

research summary coming soon

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Will Heath is especially equipped to help churches address the topic of succession planning. He has studied the history of scores of churches, has conducted numerous surveys and analyzed both successful and botched transitions. He has lectured on the subject to hundreds and helped navigate numerous pastors through their transitions. I’m not aware of anyone who has done a more thorough study of transitions than Will Heath.
Bob Russell
Louisville, KY​

Process

Succession planning is a complex and often emotional process. Addressing organizational concerns while shepherding people requires a unique leadership perspective, a clear process, and a robust set of tools. The O.D.E.G.I. Transition Model is specifically designed to equip ministry leaders to take a holistic approach to stewarding seasons of leadership transition.

When our team first started talking about my transition it felt like this slippery amoeba-shaped thing. It would constantly slip through our fingers and take different shapes. The 6 Succession Planning Conversations helped immensely as it turned succession into something our team could actually get our hands on.
James
"Retired" Pastor, Oklahoma

Tools

The term “succession planning” is often used to facilitate what is actually six distinct conversations. The ambiguity of this term creates a challenge in planning and implementation as there are often multiple definitions assigned to the same phrase. To establish clarity and help focus planning efforts, we have organized our tools around six distinct transition-related conversations..

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

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

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

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

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

Helping a transitioning leader and their spouse prepare for the next season of influence

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.

find out more

At Sherpa, one of our primary strategies is to equip denominational and associational leaders with resources to better serve your churches. That can look a number of different ways. Let’s talk about how we can best help you serve your churches.

Fill out this form and we’ll contact you to set up an initial conversation.