Elijah is not just famous for being the prophet that called fire down on his enemies but as we read today, for being one of the few people according to Scripture that have never died. Enoch, Elijah and those who will remain at Jesus’ second coming are the only ones that can be able to say that they cheated death. While the present culture tries to do everything they can to extend life, prolong youth and delay death it still comes. And that’s why it’s important for us to apply another truth we find in 2 Kings 2:1-18. And that truth is this: we’re all going to die (or at least leave Earth even if it’s in a chariot of fire) but the Gospel ministry and legacy we leave behind will multiply. I love how the prophetic ministry of Elijah cedes to Elisha before Elijah leaves. Elijah tells Elisha this anointed task will be hard and he doesn’t even know if it’s God’s will so he gives him some instructions to know if he will succeed him but in the end we see the Spirit who was on Elijah and used him in such a big way fall upon Elisha.
Now I know you’re probably thinking this succession and example of replacing ourselves in Gospel ministry and service should be a no brainer. You might be thinking people in service and pastors should be doing this already. And you’re right. This is a no brainer… And hopefully this is already happening in your area of service and in churches all across the world. However, in my opinion, it’s still rarely done and when attempted, many realize how hard it really is to accomplish. Charles Spurgeon, who was one of the greatest pastors/preachers of all time couldn’t (or just didn’t) do it while running a perceived successful pastor’s college. So I don’t care if delegating is a strength or a hassle. We must find a person, people or a system in which your ministry can sufficiently run without you. You’ll be surprised at the Gospel soaked legacy you’ll leave behind by simply entrusting and training leaders to lead as if you weren’t there and enable those who are called into ministry or serving in your area with responsibilities you were afraid to delegate away before. I believe that more churches are hurt by a leader’s weak succession plan than a “moral failure.” The moral failures just get more airtime than the latter but the latter happens way more often to good churches with good pastors and good leaders and could have easily been prevented.
Do you have a successor or system to replace you in ministry and service?
Do you need to serve and do more ministry in the first place?
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor