5LQ Episode 472: Will Heath on Succession


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In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins and Chandler Vannoy are joined by Will Heath. Heath has been working on the topic of succession for decades. He is also author of the book Embracing Succession. They discuss the following questions:

  • Why is succession something you should prepare for now, not when you are about to transition?
  • What can you do from a practical standpoint to redistribute the weight of succession?
  • How should pastor manage conversations about succession?
  • What decisions lead to a poor succession transition?
  • What resources would you share?
  • How can the successor step into the transition and follow a long-tenured pastor well?


“To not lead and behave in a way that recognizes the seasons we are in as human beings is poor stewardship.”

“Another important aspect of how we steward is discerning the seasons that we as leaders are in and that our organizations are in.”

“One of the reasons we see failures in succession planning is because leaders don’t redistribute the weight that they are applying to the conversation.”

“Many churches don’t have an ongoing rhythm and ability to access risk.”

“A leader doesn’t have to signal that they are thinking about succession in 5 to 7 years to do an organizational assessment.”

“Pastors can have candid conversations with their boards.”

“We associate succession planning with search, and I want to destroy that connection.”

“This is the perfect season for you to model what you’ve been teaching us for decades in how to trust the Lord in our transitions.”

“Transitions don’t create problems as much as they expose them.”

“Talk to current staff and previous staff. That will go a long way to helping successors understand whether or not hey are going to be a fit.”


Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network

Embracing Succession by Will Heath


Emergency Succession Planning Policy Template
Use the code 5LQ-50 to get 50% OFF (offer is good through August 31, 2021)

Leading Change by John Kotter

Succession: Are You Ready? by Marshall Goldsmith

Too Great a Temptation by Joel Gregory

Leading Change Without Losing It by Carey Nieuwhof

Transition Plan by Bob Russell

This Episode’s Sponsor:

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