A Season of Passing the Baton By Dr. Zenet MaraMara
Everything is for a season, a time for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1
After 20 years of serving as the founding CEO of the Christian Stewardship Association, I have entered the season when it time to pass the baton. For many leaders, letting go is much more complex than hanging on. We can get used to what is familiar and comfortable, and if we are honest with ourselves, it is not so easy to let go of power and even privilege.
Everything is a Lesson
The wisest man that ever lived says that everything is for a season. And a word to the wise: think of your exit strategy at the onset when you pioneer a ministry or accept a new position. We cannot underestimate the value of succession planning in any endeavor, whether a business enterprise or a non-profit ministry.
Business management author Tom Peters advises turning every job into a wow project. What if we treat all our God-given assignments as a wow project? It will not make one averse to change; instead, it invites constant innovation and a drive for excellence.
Nothing is permanent except change. I have always known that I must embrace it for growth to take place. However, it took being interviewed for a governance training video on “the blessings and challenges of a founder-led organization” to realize that I must let go. As I reflected on what I will say for the interview, it dawned on me that I could very well be in the founder’s trap! I could have been inhibiting growth and preventing the organization from taking the next level.
The Founder’s Trap
Many organizational experts believe one of the most challenging transitions is moving from a founder-led organization to the next generation leader. Organization founders are zealous and passionate about their God-given vision and mission, sometimes forgetting it is God’s and not their own. This is where the founder’s trap sets in, and instead of a board-driven ministry, the founder-led organizations defer to the founder for direction and decision-making.
The Ultimate Owner
When I finally decided to step down and transition to the next generation leader, I had complete peace and a sense of anticipation of what God was going to do. He is, after all, the ultimate owner of the ministry I serve, and he is also the provider and sustainer of his work. So even the leadership position I held was a trust from God. It was never mine.
Experiencing the ultimate freedom and joy comes when we recognize that we are never the owner of anything that God entrusted to us. Instead, all of these are gifts that we must steward well for the sole glory of God.
The Ultimate Surrender
Surrendering all to God involves not just giving up material things but includes position, power, prestige, prominence, and even the applause of people. One of the marks of a faithful steward is not living a life of ownership but a fully-surrendered life. Each season requires a different kind of surrender. For some ministry leaders like me, that call to surrender may come as a season of stepping down and passing the baton to the next leader.
Dr. Zenet Maramara is the founder/president of Christian Stewardship Association and the chairman of Christians in Conservation, an A Rocha associated project. She was a professor of biblical stewardship at Asian Theological Seminary and former director of the ATS Strategic Leader Development. She organized and directed the MBA in Biblical Stewardship and Christian Management program of ATS.
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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.