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Your Voice: 5 possible solutions to a power vacuum in the local church

A church, like other organizations, relies heavily on its leaders to guide and direct its mission.

When a leader leaves, whether due to retirement, resignation or other reasons, it can create a power vacuum that can be detrimental to the church’s health and well-being.

This power vacuum often results in conflicts and agendas among individuals who step into leadership positions, and these issues can lead to a decline in the overall functioning of the church.

The consequences of conflict and agendas in a power vacuum can be far-reaching and damaging.

They can result in a loss of giving and membership as individuals become disillusioned and disenchanted with internal strife and dysfunction.

It can also weaken the church’s ability to carry out its mission and vision, as efforts become fragmented and resources are wasted on internal power struggles rather than on the community’s needs and the church’s growth.

Addressing the problem

What can be done to address the problem of a power vacuum in a church and prevent conflict and agendas from leading to decline?

Here are some potential solutions:

  1. Clear succession plan. Having a clear succession plan in place can help minimize the power vacuum that occurs when a leader leaves a church. This plan should outline the process for selecting a new leader, including the criteria and qualifications for the role. It should be communicated to the congregation in advance to ensure transparency and reduce uncertainty. Follow best practices and get an objective consultant or coach to help.
  2. Mediation and conflict resolution. When conflicts arise, addressing them promptly and effectively is essential. Engaging in mediation and conflict resolution processes can help bring parties together to discuss their differences, find common ground and work toward a biblical resolution that is in the best interest of the church as a whole. In addition, repenting and admitting mistakes is an essential element of reconciliation.
  3. Focus on the church’s mission and vision. Keeping the focus on the church’s mission and vision can help align efforts toward a common goal and reduce the influence of personal agendas. Reminding all members of the church’s overarching purpose can help unite people and steer discussions and decisions toward what is best for the church’s mission and community. Key stakeholders must continue reminding members of the importance of unity: “Church family, we have to stick together for the glory of God and the best interests of the community.”
  4. Leadership development and training. Providing leadership development and training opportunities for potential leaders within the church can help ensure qualified individuals are prepared to step into leadership roles when a power vacuum occurs. This can help minimize the disruption caused by a leadership transition and ensure that the church continues to be led by capable and qualified individuals who are committed to the church’s mission and vision. The most competent leaders are those who realize that they don’t have all of the answers.
  5. Open communication and transparency. Maintaining open communication and transparency throughout the leadership transition process can help build trust and reduce the potential for conflicts and hidden agendas to arise. If communication is infrequent, sinful tendencies can go unchecked, and people make up their own “facts.”

Remember these key Bible passages in a leadership transition:

  • Proverbs 11:14: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
  • Ephesians 4:3: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
  • First Peter 5:2–3: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve … .”

By Chris Crain
Birmingham Metro Baptist Association

Letters to the Editor

Great job by TAB in covering a tragic event in Dadeville. We are so blessed to have a paper that brings the hope of Christ to an event that the town will never forget.

Thank you and the TAB team for always giving your best for the King!

Philip Morris
Heflin, Ala.

Perhaps when you are talking about violence you should not use talking points of the mainstream media. It is not gun violence, it is criminal violence.

If you are going to report on this problem, please make note of the facts that we have rejected God in this country, and we are reaping the results. Guns don’t kill people, wicked people kill people. We need to return to God.

John Young
Empire, Ala.

‘Surrender’: A testimony of obedience

In 1967, God moved my wife, Jean, and me to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. This led to us having a personal encounter with Him.

We started attending Palma Ceia Baptist Church. After visiting about a month, we both felt we were missing something in our lives.

One Wednesday night, the pastor, Rev. Ralph Stone, asked us to give him a ride home in our new 1967 Mustang.

When we got there, he invited us in and shared the plan of salvation with us. God spoke to us and we both accepted Christ that night.

The reason I say God was moving in that church was that many were being saved and many were being called of God to full-time service to Him.

There were at least eight of us who surrendered to God’s call. The presence of the Lord was felt every time we went.

I wanted to be sure that God was calling me and that I was not just following what others were doing. I didn’t understand how God could use me as a  pastor since I stuttered.

Brother Stone advised me to surrender my life and see how the Lord would use me.

In the next few years, I served in different areas of ministry — Sunday School teacher, youth leader, deacon, etc. — while continuing my education.

In 1976, I enrolled in the Baptist College of Florida, and in 1980 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ministry. God miraculously took the stuttering away.

I am still serving God 40 years later and giving Him the glory for using me.

My message to you is that God will equip you to do what he asks you to do!

Wayne Ivey
Director of missions
Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association

In 2 Corinthians 8, the apostle Paul is sharing about the Macedonian churches and boasting on them for their generosity. …

Thank God for the generosity of the Macedonian churches! For the same reason, I’m thankful for Southern Baptist churches today.

Thank you, Southern Baptists, for the grace of God that has been given among you, for your abundance of joy that has overflowed in a wealth of generosity. And thank you for giving yourselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God.

I don’t know what the long-term future holds for the Cooperative Program, but I do see its ongoing impact — and I’m grateful. …

Let’s not allow our denominational frustrations to cause us to walk away from working together. Instead, let’s look for solutions to the problems that plague us. As history teaches us, those solutions can often result in unexpected, exponential Kingdom advance.

Paul Chitwood
President, IMB

Never forget to take your burdens to God. Let Him help you carry the weight of a heavy heart. And let His Spirit and His Word spur you to action.

Jessica Ingram
“Carrying a heavy heart”

Sometimes, people we have invested in will leave us for one reason or another. Though it is disappointing and painful, we must show grace to them. God is not done working in the situation. We must let Him keep working it out in ways only He knows. In the end, it will work out for good.

Terry W. Dorsett
Executive director
Baptist Churches of New England

That’s one of the advantages of a spring break [missions] opportunity — it provides a learning opportunity to come back to campus and be challenged to apply some of those same things in the most strategic missions field in our state.

Chris Mills
Student missions mobilizer
Alabama Baptist SBOM

From the Twitterverse


In 2013, I heard the diagnosis of cancer, and in 2019, I heard “your cancer is back.” There are times during these day of battling cancer that the Holy Spirit reminded me, and still does, of Christ in me and the Hope of Glory. Col. 1:27


Declining churches that believe they are having a greater impact online than in person are in an attitude of denial. They use the number of online views to justify they are making progress — again those views include those “scrolling” by. Be real. That’s the only way to move ahead.


It was said of D.L. Moody that he had the right to preach the gospel to so many because “he could never speak of a lost soul without tears in his eyes.”

John Stott says of this statement, “I constantly find myself wishing that (modern day) preachers could learn to weep again.”


In the paths of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:28


“We often ask ‘why doesn’t God stop this war or that ruler?’, but we ought to be asking, ‘God, what are you doing through these events to draw the nations to salvation?’”
— @WilsonGeisler


Yes, the SBC has many sins for which we need to seek the face of God corporately for repentance. And yes, the SBC still can be a collective channel for Great Commission advance like none other. The road to NOLA and #SBC23 continues on. Let’s all work to keep it a high one.


The vilifying in ministry towards each other is tragic. We can disagree and still be civil. We can be passionate about an issue without attacking someone personally. We should be Christlike — not Pharisees. And it is OK to have a sense of humor … wish it was contagious.


Remember who the real enemy is! He does not have skin. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6:12


Was reminded of a time when I desperately needed the Lord and He comforted me through His Word even though I wasn’t reading it. Your time in His Word isn’t wasted.