025 When it’s your turn to move on as a leader (with guest Roger Thompson)

Leadership transition is inevitable. But how do you handle that transition well? In this episode Leary interviews special guest Pastor Roger Thompson, who made that transition in a remarkable way.

When it's your turn to move on as a leader


This episode’s Inspire Me quote comes from Joshua 1:9:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

For 23 years Roger Thompson led a dynamic, growing and complex church in the Twin Cities. About four years ago, the plan to transition out of that role as Senior Pastor, began to hatch. He knew God had something else for him to do.

Roger asked himself a few key questions as planned this transition:

  • How do I transition in the healthy way?
  • Am I at the top of my game?
  • Have I contributed as much as I can in my current position with this organization?
  • Is the church (organization) operating in a stable manner to handle a transition?

As the leader of the organization attracting more youthful staff, he was thoughtful about how he representing the church and committed to not coast into a forced retirement. He wanted to leave while still able to give his best.

Roger felt that the Lord was nudging him to move on. He was inspired by Caleb, who at 85 was eager to move on from his present role to take on the toughest land (read Joshua 14:10-12).  Roger confirmed this leading by confiding in his most trusted advisor, his wife, and thinking out loud with a few close friends.

Roger identified his healthy discontent. As much as he loved the pastorate, he had become weary of “running the church.” It was not energizing him any longer. He also began to feel the stirrings that there was something else God had for him to do.

Roger offered three suggestions for anyone considering leaving the leadership of their church or organization (regardless of whether they remain on in a different role as he did):

  1. Be in absolute unity with your spouse.
  2. Think about how you can leave the organization in the healthiest position possible; start building into the organization as early as possible.
  3. Ask a trusted friend to listen to your next great beginning thoughts and ideas to help  you shape your thinking.

Roger shared that many times you have to take that step of faith and trust God to bring greater clarity as you go. Remember that the position you hold in an organization is not who you are. Who you are lies within your relationship and identity in Christ.

If you’re in a similar situation, the Challenge Me for this episode is to find a trusted friend where you think out loud and gain better clarity about your situation.

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