Grady Alan Cox D.Min.
This Ministry Research Project aims to demonstrate a system for pastoral succession for congregationally governed Baptist Churches with by-laws requiring a pastor search committee system. Pastoral succession is a viable mechanism for pastoral selection in Baptist polity when certain factors are met, including predecessor’s tenure, successor’s qualifications and calling, and congregational understanding and support. Chapter 1 explains the opportunity for pastoral succession to create healthier churches and outlines the context, rationale, goals, and methodology used for this specific project. Chapter 2 examines biblical examples and exhortations from Scripture about succession of spiritual leaders in the Old and New Testaments (Moses/Joshua, Elijah/Elisha, Paul/Pastors, Jesus/Apostles). Chapter 3 argues for the advantages of pastoral succession through historical examples (St. Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Fuller), and explores practical advantages supported by biblical leadership theory. Chapter 4 describes the planning, implementation, and results of a pastoral succession at University Baptist Church Fairbanks, AK. Chapter 5 evaluates the effectiveness of pastoral succession through set goals, defines theological principles supporting succession, and highlights best practices and common mistakes. Finally, it analyzes the possibility of using a similar process for healthy and intentional ministry leadership transitions.