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Doing Leadership Transitions Well

Every Nation Philippines is going through a lot of significant transitions. Yesterday, at Victory U-Belt, it was announced to the entire church that Pastor Gilbert Foliente is now the new Executive Director of Every Nation Philippines and CJ Nunag would be the new senior pastor of U-Belt.

A bad leadership transition can hurt a movement. But a good leadership transition will be a significant boost. Here’s how to do a good leadership transition:

1. Remind people of the Mission.

Before announcing the changes, Pastor Steve Murrell reminded us of the Mission and the significant role of U-Belt.

“When we came to the Philippines to plant a church that would reach future leaders and the next generation there was only one choice: U-Belt. Everything that’s happened in Victory and Every Nation is rooted here. This is the heartbeat of our movement.”

This elevated the issue of the transition. It’s far beyond who is my favorite pastor or what’s most comfortable for me. It’s about what God called us to do together.

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2. Tell people in stages.

Start with the top leaders and be diligent about cascading it. Give people time to absorb the information, ask questions, and get used to the change. Yesterday, most people already knew before the public announcement. This shows respect and value for the individuals who will be affected.

3. Remember the Three H’s.

I’m making this part up. I don’t think anyone’s coined the 3H’s before. But I’ve seen them in every leadership transition we’ve done.

  • HONOR – We always honor the outgoing leader. GENEROUSLY. Also, honor the incoming leader. CJ is an amazing leader and Pastor Gilbert worked very hard to let his church see that they would be in great hands.
  • HUMILITY – The transition was light because no one was thinking about themselves. CJ would love to stay in campus ministry and Gilbert in U-Belt. But everyone was concerned with what honors God and what the team needs me to do. That’s the heart of humility: It’s not about me.
  • HUMOR – This is very important. Humor reveals humility. Arrogant people are rarely funny, except behind their back. That’s because they take themselves too seriously. Our transitions are always full of humor as an overflow because none of these men are concerned with themselves. It’s not overly dramatic. This sets the church at ease and excites them for the changes to come. “Let’s all welcome our bald senior pastor!”
Pastor Steve honoring Pastor Gilbert and Cathy Foliente, before moving to Pastor CJ and Mye Nunag
Pastor Steve honoring Pastor Gilbert and Cathy Foliente, before moving to Pastor CJ and Mye Nunag
Pastor Gilbert showing that there is a common hairstyle for U-Belt senior pastors.
Pastor Gilbert showing that there is a common hairstyle for U-Belt senior pastors.
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