Apostolic succession

Apostolic suck-session

I know.  You're like, "What did he say?" Back in my college days I majored in Theology.  Sort of.  I actually majored in a self created one called, "Just get though college."  But that's not the point of this post.

A couple of things have stuck with me from those times.  One topic that stuck was the theory of Apostolic Succession.  Encyclopedia Britannica defines it this way,

apostolic succession, in Christianity, the teaching that bishops represent a direct, uninterrupted line of continuity from the Apostles of Jesus Christ. According to this teaching, bishops possess certain special powers handed down to them from the Apostles; these consist primarily of the right to confirm church members, to ordain priests, to consecrate other bishops, and to rule over the clergy and church members in their diocese (an area made up of several congregations).

WAKE UP!  I know, it almost put me to sleep too.  BUT, the topic provides us an opportunity to talk about you as a leader.

What are you passing down?  Have you created a succession or a suck-session.  Stop snickering.  It's very important to look at whom we are developing as the next generation of leaders.  I don't want to create the next generation of producers.  If the only thing we seek out of people is production than inevitably we've failed in leadership.  If our goal is costing us people than we are regressing instead of progressing.  What I want for people is their lives and leadership to progress, not regress.

Here are some reminders for myself and if you want to be reminded as well you're more than welcome...

1.  Focus on succession, not suck-session - I call it suck-session because I've been guilty of this in leadership, I've sucked the life right out of people trying to charge up an imaginary hill for the sake of my name.  That's bull crap.  The most helpful way to develop an environment of succession is to utilize the Golden Rule.  "How would I want to be treated?"  "What opportunities would I like to be given?" "How would I want to be evaluated?"  When we focus on these types of questions we begin to give away authority instead of hoard it.  What if we measured our success with people not based upon their production durring their time under our leadership but on their lives after their time with us?  Which leads to my next thought...

2.  Give permission - I have to be remind myself that I might be the leader in the room because I've been around the longest.  That certainly doesn't give me Christ like authority.  And if I operated in Christ-like authority I would focus on serving instead of demanding.  If we believe we have talented people in the right seats on our team bus than we have to give them permission to use their gifts.  Actually, we have to advocate for them to use their gifts.  And if this means we have to press on those who lead us to allow those we lead to activate in their gifts than it's our responsibility to do so.  Again, it's about how we want to be treated.  You and I, we want permission to use our gifts.

3.  Give them the Holy Spirit - I know that probably felt like a curve ball but stay with me.  If you are a Christian leader than I hope you believe God is at work in every person.  God's Kingdom is established in the hearts of these people and our role as leaders is to call it out.  I struggle badly with this one because I just want to tell people what God is doing and they should show respect and follow me (Right? Isn't that what all good Christians do?  We respect authority).  But our leadership role is to give those we lead the opportunity follow the Holy Spirit.  And we have to trust and ask those we lead what God is doing in them and through them and what's yet to be done. This is a leadership privilege but also a responsibility.

We have to keep the end in mind.  Yes, we have a goal or a mission but nothing can be accomplished without a healthy leadership culture.  Great leadership cultures create a succession of great leaders.

What have you found helpful in creating a culture of healthy succession?  Please leave your comments below.