Resources for Succession Planning

By Kent Fillinger

Books for Church Leaders and Churches

Next: Pastoral Succession that Works by William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2014)

05_Resources_JN2Passing the Leadership Baton: A Winning Transition Plan for Your Ministry by Tom Mullins (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015)

The Elephant in the Boardroom: Speaking the Unspoken About Pastoral Transitions by Carolyn Weese and J. Russell Crabtree (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004)

Transition Plan: 7 Secrets Every Leader Needs to Know (for Kindle) by Bob Russell and Bryan Bucher (Minneapolis: Publish Green, 2010)

Before You Move: A Guide to Making Transitions in Ministry by John R. Cionca (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004)

Planning Your Succession: Preparing for Your Future by Samuel Chand and Dale Bronner (Huntley: Mall Publishing, 2008); limited availability

Leader><Shift: One Becomes Less While Another Becomes More by Gary Johnson (self-published, 2013); available at and

Books for Nonprofit Ministries and Executive Directors

Chief Executive Transitions: How to Hire and Support a Nonprofit CEO by Don Tebbe (Washington, D.C.: BoardSource, 2008); also available at

Chief Executive Succession Planning: The Board’s Role in Securing Your Organization’s Future by Nancy R. Axelrod (Washington, D.C.: BoardSource, 2002, 2009); also available at

Hiring the Chief Executive: A Practical Guide to the Search and Selection Process by Sheila Albert (National Center for Nonprofit Boards, 2000)

Marketplace Books

Succession: Are You Ready? by Marshall Goldsmith (Cambridge: Harvard Business Press, 2009)

Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within (Fifth Edition) by William J. Rothwell (New York: AMACOM, 2016)

Staffing Search Firms and Succession Planning Consultants

Vanderbloemen Search Group assists church leaders looking for a new position and churches looking to hire for a position. In addition to church staffing, Vanderbloemen Search Group offers succession planning services, compensation, and church consulting. Learn more at

Slingshot Group is part of the Provision Ministry Group. Slingshot provides staffing search services and coaching services for churches, church leaders, and nonprofits. Slingshot includes resources and helps in the areas of senior leadership, worship arts, multicultural, students, children’s, communications, and multisite. Learn more at

3:STRANDS Consulting provides customized coaching and consulting for churches and nonprofits in succession planning, pastoral transitions, and staffing audits. 3:STRANDS also provides leadership development, executive coaching, and ministry strengths assessments and planning to position and prepare leaders and churches for greater effectiveness and success. Learn more at

Online Ministry Search Resources

Online resources to explore ministry job openings in the Christian churches and churches of Christ are also available for self-searching. These are good sources for churches that want to list open positions and for individuals looking for church and ministry employment opportunities. Here are some of the online search options:

Cincinnati Christian University:

Lincoln Christian University:

Hope International University:

Johnson University: (users are required to create an online profile in order to sign in to access the listing of ministries)

Christian Church Today:

CrossLink Ministries and the Ministry Employment Network: (includes a limited number of open positions in churches, Christian colleges, and camps)

Ministry Source: (includes ministry positions from a wider Evangelical spectrum)


Kent E. Fillinger serves as president of 3:STRANDS Consulting and director of partnerships with CMF International, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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