Why Ministry Leaders Must Prepare Their Successors for the Last Days Now

It is vitally important that you train your successors now (Unsplash)

During a time of prayer and intercession over my ministry and ministry leaders around the world, the Lord showed me in a vision of pastors and leaders of ministries with a suitcase in one hand and a list of instructions or training manuals in the other.

Some leaders were facing one person. Others were facing a group of people. The suitcases showed the words: "New Assignment, Next Levels, Persecution, Heaven." Some pastors and leaders gave the person or people they were facing the copies in their hands before they walked away. However, others turned and walked away with both the suitcase and instructions still clenched in their hands.

The Lord revealed through this vision that He is prompting pastors and ministry leaders to both continue to run the race and be a living legacy of the ministries God birthed in their hearts; to be ready for shifts and changes as He is calling you higher, and through His guidance and strategy, prepare those who will take the baton of ministry and torch of revival to keep the ministries alive and growing.

While many pastors and leaders are effective at training and sending off, and it is certainly essential to do so, it is also as vitally important to train and find the next person or group who will carry out their ministries when they are gone. As we contend for revival and share the gospel in these last days, some will be persecuted, imprisoned and martyred. Some will have new kingdom assignments on earth. Some are being moved to new levels of ministry. Some will be taken to heaven.

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God is calling pastors and ministry leaders of the pure and faithful church carrying these suitcases to not neglect to seek and equip those who will continue to do the work God started through them for these ministries. These churches and ministries should not die or disappear when these changes occur! We need to seek Him for His plan to select, train, equip and delegate those who will continue our ministries if we are to new assignments or called home.

In the vision, those who were obedient and handed the lists and training manuals to others knew the importance of keeping the churches and ministries alive in their absence or departure. The ones who refused and walked away allowed pride and self-sufficiency in their hearts, as if these churches and ministries belonged to them and not God. We see in God's Word what happened when there was a not a godly leader, prophet or king who was equipped to carry out God's plans after godly leaders left or died. The next generation was lost, wicked, and destruction occurred. Those who look to their own strengths and abilities and do not prepare for their successors are setting up their churches and ministries for the same type of destruction.

Pastors and ministry leaders: Are you developing and preparing your replacements to carry out God's legacy through your ministries? While we leaders should always run our race with everything within us and always have faith that God will keep us here as long as possible, we should also be prepared. We do not know how long our kingdom assignments are on this earth. Only God knows. If you were to leave this earth right now, have you prepared your replacement? God does not want what He started in you to die with you.

Throughout God's words, we see examples of leaders who equipped their replacements, even when they did not expect to ever leave.

Numbers 27 shows us that Moses did not expect to not be allowed to lead the Israelites into the promised land and did not initially seek out a successor. But when he was told that he would not continue leading and would be taken to heave, he wanted the people to have a godly leader and to have God's purpose fulfilled. God showed him that Joshua, who was by his side training in God's ways, would be the one to continue to lead His people. Moses then delegated God's leadership mantle to Joshua.

First Kings 19 shows us that Elijah thought he was the only true prophet left on the earth, but God showed him there were others who were still true followers and called him to train and equip Elisha to carry the leadership mantle.

Acts 16 and 2 Timothy 2 show examples of how God gave Paul strategy to identify, train and equip Timothy for the ministry until the end of his race on earth.

However, the best example of ministry delegation is Jesus! He knew He would eventually leave the earth, but spent time in prayer, listened to the voice of His Father and selected, trained, equipped and delegated the 12 chosen disciples to carry out God's plan on the earth. "In these days He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God. When it was day, He called for His disciples, and of them He chose twelve, whom He named apostles" (Luke 6:12-13). He poured Himself into them as a leader while fulfilling what God had for Him to do on the earth. He prepared them for his departure and set the example for them to follow when they would one day leave the earth and would need to train, equip and pass the ministry mantle on to others.

Sadly, there have been many churches and ministries that have died or became ineffective for the kingdom because there was not a leadership succession plan. Without godly leaders to carry the mantle, doors of sin, compromise, death and destruction unraveled much of what God accomplished through the leaders who looked to themselves, and not God working through them. When leaders have thriving ministries, platforms and followers and are passionate to do the work of the kingdom, Satan loves nothing more than to try to bring the deception that it is them doing the work and not God's power through them. Just as a shepherd needs to find a replacement to protect his flock in the event he must leave, so leaders and ministers must do the same for the flocks God has entrusted to them in this season.

Effective leaders seek God to identify their successors and prepare them. Here are six ways you can prepare your successors in these last days:

1. Seek God's strategy on what person or team He calls you to train, equip and entrust and the Holy Spirit on who will be teachable, faithful to the call and ready to lead. "The disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is trained will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40).

2. Remove all pride and self-sufficiency and remain humble. God gave you the mantle and platform, and He can take it away if you make the ministry your works and not His. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sound judgment, according to the measure of faith God has distributed to every man" (Rom. 12:3).

3. Seek the Holy Spirit to write out His training plans and preparation for those who will care for the flock God entrusted you with in your absence or departure. "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to the entire flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).

4. In these last days, dedicate time for training and shadowing those who will carry the voice of truth as you have. As Paul did for Timothy, invest the wisdom, ability and strategies God gave you for others He has called to continue your church and ministry so that the truth will continue to spread throughout the earth. "For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths. But be self-controlled in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and prove your ministry" (2 Tim. 4:3-5).

5. Be prepared to let go, delegate and move forward when God calls you to new levels, to pass the mantle or is calling you home. "Share the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses with faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2).

6. Do not let your church or ministry end or die with you! Jesus commissioned his apostles to complete his work and train others. When it is time, leave a living legacy and pass the baton to those who God called you to prepare! "All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age" (Matt. 28:18, TPT).

God is not saying to stop leading and ministering! He is saying prepare the next leaders as He prepares you for your next levels. Be ready for if and when He calls you to something new or to brings you Home to prepare for Christ's return!

Dr. Meg Hart founded Restored Women in 2015. She is an ordained pastor through Global Ministries and Relief Inc.

For the original article, visit restoredwomen.com.

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