Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Glenn Williams, DMin

Second Advisor

Calvin Habig, DMin

Third Advisor

Jason Clark, DMin


The succession of a senior leader is inevitable and all leaders will find themselves in their professional life being handed the title “previous.” The inevitability of succession exists within ecclesial and business contexts. The primary purpose of this research is to examine succession principles and processes within churches, and to secondarily look at business models and practices. Today’s aging clergy and narrow field of available successors is creating a potentially catastrophic future for the American church. The focus of this paper is to develop principles and preparation strategies that can be initiated to create a path to success for the three players in the succession process: 1. The Incumbent 2. The Organization 3. The Successor. Drawing on Biblical patterns, business practices, and contemporary successions, this paper describes the reality and severity that accompanies the succession process. It concludes with a framework for success and a definition of what it can mean to end well. This dissertation will empower the three players to navigate the process and develop the principles necessary for success.

Included in

Christianity Commons