The Art of the Handoff


Handing off ministry duties and leadership is a tricky thing to navigate. Just like in football, everything needs to come together just right for the hand off to be successful. If you let go of the ball to soon, the “runner” will never secure the ball. If you let go too late, you’ll run into each other and the ball could be dropped. If you don’t call the play clearly, the “runner” may go one way, while you turn to the other, making the hand off impossible. There is always a risk anytime you place someone in authority. To minimize that risk and set your leaders up for success, you MUST learn to run a smooth hand off. Here are a few thoughts:

Leadership gifts aren’t enough – Just because someone is gifted to lead, doesn’t mean they’re ready to lead within your team. Until they know the play book and have established trust with the “offensive line”, handing them the ball would be risky at best.

Being talented isn’t enough – Someone may have all the talent in the world, but if they aren’t relational and can’t lead their way out of a paper bag, they aren’t qualified to lead on your team. Just because someone is athletic, doesn’t mean they’re ready to be a “running back”.

No one is a perfect leader – Sometimes even the best “running backs” fumble the ball. If you can’t be patient in developing your leaders, you probably won’t develop many. If you let go of the ball to soon, you’re not giving the “runner” a chance to be successful.

Not everyone pans out –  Every once in a while things just don’t work out. Be ready to make a switch if needed. Don’t pull the trigger too soon, but don’t keep the struggling “runner” in the game so long that the team suffers.

In the end, developing and empowering leaders is a huge ministry challenge. WE won’t always get it right and THEY won’t always live up to expectations, but remember…the season is long. Be patient with your leaders, invest in them heavily and, when the time is right, make sure they have the tools needed for a successful hand off.


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