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Passing the Baton

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Rev. Patrick L. Clements

Rev. Patrick L. Clements served as President of Church Extension Plan from 1982 to 2016.

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Leadership Perspective, Transition

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Article originally published on January 06, 2017

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Many of you who regularly read the articles in Leadership Source are aware that we are in the last days of a leadership transition here at Church Extension Plan. It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve as the president of Church Extension Plan for the past 34 years.  Few people are blessed to “labor” at something that is truly a love for them. I am humbled to see what the Lord has done in multiplying our teams' efforts to build the ministry.

On December 31st I officially passed the baton to the incoming president, Peter Clements. I did so with a great sense of security knowing that the Lord has directed our transition and that our board of directors has prayerfully followed the leading of the Holy Spirit in the nationwide search and selection process. I am reminded of a quote that I heard years ago from former General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Thomas F. Zimmerman. He said, “We doff our hats to the past and recognize the need to roll up our sleeves to embrace the future.”

I have noticed some things about the whole “passing the baton” thing. First, it is vitally important that you not drop the baton as you run your lap in the race. It is essential to finishing well to hold onto the responsibility while it is still entrusted to you. I have tried to be faithful to that reality.

Secondly, I have noticed that you have to loosen your grip on the baton as you approach the handoff to ensure that the exchange is not too abrupt. We have attempted to honor that fact by establishing a timeline of stepping back from direct involvement in the day-to-day leadership of the team. Our published timeline had been followed to a tee, and I believe has served us all well as a guide and reference point as we have progressed through the transition process.

Thirdly, I have noticed that if you insist on holding on to the baton, you risk completely losing the race and derailing the team. It is essential that leaders realize that they hold their role for a season as stewards and not as owners. You must hold the role loosely. You must also recognize the nudge of the Holy Spirit when He confirms to your heart that your time in leadership should draw to an end. I am delighted to report that with the assurance of the leadership of the Lord that I am not holding on. I have come to the end of my leadership role at CEP. For the organization to move forward and embrace the challenges which lie ahead, new and younger leadership is needed.

Lastly, I have noticed that in a relay race the team members who have completed their lap and handed the baton off continue to cheer and encourage the remaining runner. I believe that Church Extension Plan is headed to its best days ever. I am fully convinced that a Godly process was followed and that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit the right man was chosen to lead into the next season of the journey should the Lord tarry. I can enthusiastically support the new president and his leadership team. They are men and women of great character and integrity who will take this ministry to levels way beyond what I could ask or imagine. Stay tuned…the very best is yet ahead.

Passing the Baton
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