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Core Model Brief: LeaderStream

God has one purpose all through history that is expressed through many generations. We must carry this vision!

Malcolm Webber


"I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you." (Gen. 17:7)

God is infinite and outside of time. He sees everything ‒ past, present and future.

Consequently, God has one purpose all through history that is expressed through many generations, not just through individuals or through one generation. Everything we do should carry this vision!

Succession Is Already Happening

The reality is that:

    • We are in a constant generational transition. The generations are changing – whether we like it or are ready for it or not!
    • As leaders, we’re often so busy with the ministry work that we don’t realize the generations are already changing and so we fail to nurture a healthy culture of succession of leadership.
    • As a result, there are problems – often crises – with leadership succession all around the world in churches and ministry organizations.

In the future, someone else will build on what you’ve done – in fact, they already are! The only question is: how well will they build? How well have you prepared them to build? Therefore, your callling is not just to do the ministry work but to build the next generation. If you make building the next generation your primary goal, then the current need will be met in a greater way now and you will have laid the foundation for even greater work in the future.

A Biblical Model of Leadership Succession

The biblical approach to succession is not simply a “succession plan” ‒ it’s much bigger. It is a culture of succession. Culture means shared beliefs, values, priorities, attitudes, actions, memories, language. In such a culture, leader development is not limited to a program; rather, it’s the natural life of the community.

This is not simply the development of a few qualified individuals by a few senior leaders. Instead, one generation takes broad responsibility for building the next generation. 

The 3G Model of Leadership Succession

In 1 John 2, John speaks of three distinct generations. They each have different responsibilities and needs:

    • The spiritual fathers and mothers, who give wisdom and counsel and provide encouragement and accountability. They need relevance, honor and care.
    • The young men and women, who are responsible for doing the actual work. They need trust, empowerment and accountability.
    • The children, who need help and opportunities to grow.

Giving and Receiving the Treasure

The generational succession of leadership is not merely a passing on of principles and knowledge, or of forms, structures and systems. It must be a passing on of life! Succession is not only about position and power; it is primarily about treasure: union with Christ, integrity, vision, truth.

Succession is both a giving and a receiving of this divine treasure. The older generation gives; the younger generation receives. Both generations are responsible. The treasure is passed from one generation to the next through the “Four Dynamics of Transformation.”

Succession Is a Culture, Not an Event

Succession is a culture, not a ceremony. Succession is a continuous process, a lifestyle, not something that happens at a single event or point in time.

The reality is that you are always in the process of succession. The children are becoming young men and women, and the young men and women are becoming spiritual fathers and mothers. The only question is: how well are they doing it?

So don’t build “your legacy” – build people, build the next generation! It’s not about you and your legacy; it’s about them and their future. This is the heart of the true spiritual father and mother.

The ultimate act of leadership is to nurture a culture of leader development and the generational succession of leadership.


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