Passing the Baton

transitionbatanPictured here is the baton I’ll be handing over to Pastor Joe French at this weekend’s services. It’s the weekend we officially transition from me being the lead pastor (senior pastor) to Joe being the lead pastor. I’ll preach my last sermon the following weekend (October 11/12).

We’ve been on this journey of transition for approximately eighteen months, guided by Pastor Rupert’s expertise in these matters (he’s the one with the PhD in leadership and has written a book on transition so Joe and I try to listen to him, sometimes). Now the time has come to pass the baton to Pastor Joe.

In a relay race one runner passes the baton on to another runner who continues the race. This is what Joe and I will do.

We’re all in a race called life. We’re all involved in passing on the baton, whether we always recognize it or not.

Parents pass on their view of life to their children. We know it has happened when we hear a small child parrot words we’ve heard from the parents. But it’s more than words. Attitudes and values are also passed on, for a lifetime.

We parents of adult children continue to pass on the baton of how to live life. Our big kids are watching how we handle aging, whether we’re aging gracefully, and, eventually, how we deal with facing death.

We also pass the baton of attitude in our friendships, work environments, our churches, and other social networks of which we’re a part. All of us are people of influence.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to train another person for a task or responsibility. We can help insure (though not guarantee) their success.

Passing a baton involves coming alongside a person, going the same direction and synchronizing our speed. If we’re going to pass on something good to others we have to learn the art of coming alongside them.

As a minister I have conducted funerals where it’s been rather obvious that not much good has been passed on from the deceased to those who have gathered to pay their respects. It’s sad, more sad than a funeral should be. On the other hand, I’ve conducted funerals where people can’t say enough of how the deceased made a positive difference in their lives. These funerals tend to be more joyous than you’d expect a funeral to be.

Yes, there’s all kinds of ways to “pass the baton” in life. We’re all in this race called life but it’s not just our race. Others are running the race of life too and we can make a difference in their lives. Let’s pass the baton and share the delight of winning!

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)

There are are a variety of people to whom I’m passing on the baton in my life. This weekend I’ll be focusing on just one of those people. His name is Joe.

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