Leadership Transition: Passing the Spiritual Torch

Who's Your Timothy?

The Apostle Paul knew how to develop others. In some ways, he probably was the best Big a Little Bro could ask for. He was bold, passionate, insightful, and wise, but also caring, supportive, and pastoral. When we think about passing our Chapter Ministry on to others younger than us, we can learn much from how Paul developed his Little Bro: Timothy.

When we think about passing our Chapter Ministry on to others younger than us, we can learn much from how Paul developed his Little Bro: Timothy.

In Acts 16, Paul invited Timothy to join him on a missionary journey that would no doubt change his life. It certainly complicated Paul’s team, causing him to spend more time and energy teaching Timothy the ropes, but he felt it was worth it to bring a young and newer Christian along with him.

This is the first principle in leadership development:

Invest in the Next Generation.

My fraternity brothers Brent and Nick, led our SAE Chapter ministry and helped me grow in my faith as a newer brother to the chapter. Rather than checking out during his final years, Brent took me under his wing. We would do early morning workouts together, which had nothing to do with Bible study. Yet it was during those times, running around the track, that Brent would ask me questions, teach me things, challenge my thoughts, give me new perspectives and pray with me. He really got to know me and I got to know him.

Whether he knew it or not, he was investing his time, faith, and energy into me and helping me have good foundations for leadership.

Often we feel pressured to just pass our ministry on to anyone who will take it, but we can change that mentality, and its implications, by being intentional with whom we plan to entrust it to.

Ask God in prayer:

- Who does he want you invest more of your time into? Who has shown an interest in your Chapter Ministry?

- How can you not only share your faith, but your life with them too?

Develop Others Through Empowerment.

As we continue to look at Paul’s investment into Timothy we see a second principle at work. Paul actually develops Timothy by giving him responsibility and the chance to succeed or fail. Paul sends Timothy on a solo mission to the town of Thessalonica to go encourage the church there, which Timothy faithfully completes. (1st Thes. 3) This gave Paul the opportunity to see how Timothy would do on his own and what his limits were.

I remember the first time Brent asked me to help with Bible study. I was nervous and scared that people would know I did not have all the answers, yet it was Brent’s patience and guidance that gave me the confidence that I could do it. He saw something in me and empowered me to step up by having me lead part of the discussion during Chapter Ministry.

After I helped lead the study, I had new faith in my own ability as a spiritual influencer in my chapter. Brent gave me a purpose and responsibility to own our Chapter Ministry. It can be hard to release control and trust others, but whether they fail or succeed you will be helping them grow and become more ready for leadership.

Trust that God will help you and them figure out what they can handle.

- Who can you invite to help you prepare Bible study, make the chapter announcement, give rides to younger members, bring snacks, or do the ice breaker?

- How can you invite members to use their natural gifts to bless your Chapter Ministry and give them more ownership?

Give On Going Support

In his personal letters to Timothy, Paul models for us one of the most important principles in passing ministry along to others. The books of 1st and 2nd Timothy are filled with Paul’s personal encouragements, instructions, counsel, and reminders of the mission and purpose of following Christ. Paul debriefs with Timothy and provides ongoing support as Timothy led the ministry in Ephesus.

Paul wanted to make sure Timothy “got it” and understood what was of the utmost importance. Like Paul, Brent continued to support me and my Big Eric once we took over the SAE Chapter Ministry. He would ask us how things were going, giving us tips and ideas. I also distinctly remember going to him at times with questions brothers had that I didn’t know the answer to.

Yet the most impactful thing Brent did was write me a personal letter commissioning me to be the next Chapter Ministry leader. I still have the letter with me even though it’s been 7 years. Brent stayed available and did not just check out after he passed leadership on. He ensured the legacy and values would continue.

Leading a Chapter Ministry can be challenging, so giving regular encouragement and coaching with those you pass it onto can make all the difference. Asking questions like these, gives you insight into your predecessors’ understanding of the mission and vision of your Chapter Ministry as well as what you could be more clear and direct about.

- How do you see God moving in our members’ lives?

- How can I be praying for you and the Chapter Ministry?

- What are your biggest challenges you are dealing with as a leader?


Because of Paul’s development of Timothy and Brent’s development of me, the ministries they led, continued. Following these principles will go a long ways in ensuring that your Chapter Ministry also continues and thrives.

I challenge you to be intentional about the way you transition leadership. Not only for the legacy of your Chapter Ministry but for the hope that God would reach every brother and sister in your chapter.

About the Author
Greek Regional Coordinator


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