May 13, 2022LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH… Pastor John
Hello Journey Friends and Family,
For a long time, Zenith was an innovative, profitable company. The television our family had when I was growing up was a Zenith. Zenith produced the first portable radio, the first flat-screened TV, and pioneered HDTV almost 20 years before HD signals would become the standard in the United States. They were also the first company to introduce the remote control (the “Space Command” was the original name given to that blessed invention) and to this day, men sitting on couches and in recliners everywhere rejoice. (I was my dad’s remote control: “John Allan, get up and change the channel…”)
Zenith was founded by Eugene McDonald, a brilliant innovator, and businessman who took the company from a small start-up to a household name. However, McDonald failed to think seriously about future leadership for the company. When he died, the Board of Directors appointed a 70-year-old successor, who lasted only two years. From that point on, Zenith struggled to get its market-share momentum back. A South Korean electronics giant, LG, bought Zenith’s name and trademark after Zenith declared bankruptcy in 1999. I am sure that is not what Eugene McDonald wanted to leave as his legacy.
Jack Welch was the highly successful former CEO of General Electric. He spent the last nine years of his tenure strategically prioritizing the transition to his successor. In fact, most of Welch’s career was spent creating an ongoing training program at GE’s famed “Crotonville” facility that took seriously the transitions of leaders at every single level of management in the company’s org chart.
Welch’s focus on training leaders for transition into greater responsibility was so successful that the company became a prime target for executive headhunters looking for leadership at other corporations. Amazingly enough, even after companies like Allied-Signal, Boeing, and Home Depot recruited CEOs from the GE leadership pipeline, Welch’s company continued to thrive. Healthy organizations that last beyond the influence of one dominant personality are dependent on healthy, responsibly planned transitions of leadership.
And yet, for all the talk in churches about vision, there is a strange silence when it comes to the subject of leadership succession. This unexplainable blind spot often leads to disastrous consequences for ministries. You can’t walk a block in most cities without noticing an empty, or almost empty church building. At one time these churches were led by pastors with a fresh vision and a strong leadership voice and were enthusiastically followed by a congregation that stood ready to make that vision a reality. But when the Pastor moved or retired, or unexpectantly went to be with the Lord, the once flourishing congregation began to flounder, and the ministry lost momentum because the vision perished with the leader.
I want to personally invite you to join us for the next two Sundays (May 15 & 22) as we talk about planned, intentional, healthy leadership transitions. It is a really important topic and I think you will want to hear these messages in person if at all possible, or online if that’s not an option.
The great US track and field champion Jackie Joyner-Kersey said, “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” That’s what I, Pastor Dustin Aagaard, and our Elder team have been doing for some time as we think about Journey’s future, and I am excited to share how God has prepared us so that we can prepare you to take our collective next step in following Jesus.
Loving the transition Journey,