Conservative Progressives: How to Pass the Baton from Generation to Generation

Joe Rigney | July 31, 2015

In the coming decade, the restless and Reformed movement will face a number of challenges. Elsewhere I’ve spoken and written about the danger of rivalry as God multiplies our movement. Success breeds envy like nothing else, and the Devil loves nothing more than to sow seeds of jealousy among faithful bands of brothers and sisters.

But sidelong glances won’t be the only challenge. Leadership transitions within churches and institutions are also full of pitfalls for those moving on out and those moving on up. Passing the baton from one generation to another has never been easy. But it’s also never been optional. The Christian faith, after all, is something that’s handed down (2 Tim. 2:2). It’s entrusted from one generation to another.

Which means we must learn to make the generational handoff without dropping the baton.

Two Dangers

When an older generation passes leadership to a younger one, there are generally two dangers to avoid. The first, often associated with the older generation (though young bucks are capable of it too), is the conservative tendency. Often coupled with fear, anxiety, and undue strictness, it’s the tendency to relinquish leadership reluctantly, to hand the baton but not let go, to view any…

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