Equipping Malaysian Leaders for Next-Gen Ministry
Pastor Mark Conner, senior pastor of Citylife Church, Melbourne, Australia, visited Malaysia on 24-25 March for a special leadership conference hosted by NECF and Alpha Malaysia. The oversubscribed "Pastoring the Next Generation Church" conference was held at DUMC and attended by 120 pastors and leaders from 40 churches in Klang Valley and West Malaysia. Mark's sessions focused on running a contemporary church and preparing the next generation of church leaders.
Over two days, Mark led the delegates to consider the future of their churches and how they might more effectively communicate and work with the young people in their congregations to raise them up as successful leaders. He shared from his church's experience of how the baton of senior pastor was passed to him by his two predecessors. Mark's church has grown tremendously since he took leadership.
He outlined the following framework for succession planning in the church:
- The predecessor needs to choose a successor very carefully in terms of chemistry (between the two), character and competency (personally, he would look for strong leadership and communication competences).
- Both predecessor and successor must be clear about the church's mission and ensure that it continues after the baton is passed.
- The predecessor needs to consider the right timing for transition.
- A clear transition process needs to be detailed in terms of strategy, structure, style, etc.
- After the baton is passed, the predecessor needs to make a decision to let go, eg. take a sabbatical to release oneself from any structural or even emotional attachment to the leadership position.
- The successor needs to continually honour the predecessor, his team and even the old members that have supported the past leadership, and to find ways to win their respect.
Related information on the talk can be found in Mark Conner's blog: markconner.typepad.com.
"This conference is an opportunity for two generations," NECF secretary general Sam Ang said at the start of the event. "Empowering the next generation of Malaysian Christian leaders is something that the NECF has been actively looking into for the past year - this generation raising the next generation - and I am glad Pastor Mark Conner has come to help us."
"There has been this great concern about the next generation," Alpha Malaysia national director Foo Lai Wei said. "The next generation is coming into leadership, and there has been concern about raising up the next generation to effectively and powerfully present the gospel of Jesus Christ to their own generation."
Alpha Malaysia is an organisation that exists to equip churches with tools for evangelism and transformation. Its key courses are The Alpha Course, The Marriage Course and Youth Alpha. It already has 180 courses registered across the nation for 2011.