Tip #9 -- Practice Effective Succession Planning



Effective succession planning is essential in the Kingdom of God. The only Biblical record of Jesus spending all night in prayer was the night before he chose his successors. He designated them “Apostles.”

photo courtesy of kristyhall

Jesus' plan for succession

Neil Cole notes that during Jesus' earthly ministry, he invested in five distinct social groupings:

  • an inner circle composed of Peter, James and John
  • spiritual family of the twelve apostles
  • a team of 72 he personally equipped & sent
  • a network of 120 who gathered in the upper room
  • the multitudes he taught, healed and fed.

But since Jesus knew that his success depended on succession, he invested the greatest amount of time with the smallest groupings.

Paul's succession plan

In II Timothy 2:2 Paul reminds Timothy of the very same principle. He said, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." In this verse, Paul gives Timothy a vision of spiritual leadership that included succession. Specifically, this vision spans four spiritual generations.

The faith is passed from Christ to Paul; Paul to Timothy; Timothy to reliable men; reliable men to others. This vision is one of natural spiritual reproduction: make disciples who can make disciples.

That penny really grows!

At first, this approach of may seem a little slow, but the theory behind it is a lot like the old question: Would you rather have $100,000 today….or one penny, doubled every day for a month? One cent, doubled every day, for 31 days is over ten million dollars. This is the principle behind all effective succession planning.

women bible studies

Leaders must reproduce

Where do you spend the most of your time? Resist the urge to concentrate on the masses. The vision is not to be a church that maintains itself, but to be a church that reproduces itself. Who are you mentoring to be your successor? It’s not about size. Success is succession.

Learn how to help your Christian small group multiply.



Want to teach this lesson to your Sunday School class or small group?
Use our devotional with discussion questions.



To learn more about disciple-making in the 21st century, check out
Kingdom-Driven Discipleship.



Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com


For any reuse or distribution of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

Please email us with questions or comments.

Return from Effective Succession Planning to
Tips for Discipleship Bible Study Leaders


Home - Bible Study Lesson Plans

Continue thinking of how you can plan for your successor. Listen to this sermon from II Timothy, Discipleship Lessons from the Book of Timothy