Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Archer

Second Advisor

Dr. Jamie Stewart

Third Advisor

Dr. Jim Vigil


Within the next decade, thousands of churches in America will be transitioning the lead pastoral position from one generation to the next. Most lead pastors are not prepared for this succession. The primary research question driving this project is: Can a strategic plan be developed that will assist pastors in the succession between a mentoring lead pastor and his or her mentee? This question is worth researching for the following reasons: 1) most literature written on the subject focuses on principles and/or practices; 2) most literature written on the subject looks at succession as a whole (congregation, board, et cetera), but does not address how to specifically assist the outgoing and incoming pastors; and 3) most literature that do address a plan are not from a qualitative case study, but rather from personal experience. The research question led to the synthesizing of eight qualitative interviews of incoming and outgoing pastors who walked through a mentor to mentee lead pastor succession, an examination of primary sources on the topic of pastoral succession, and a theological review of pastoral succession and leadership transition within the narrative of scripture. The findings from the research produced a seven-step strategic plan to assist the outgoing pastor and incoming pastor in the succession between a mentoring lead pastor and his or her mentee.

Included in

Christianity Commons