Passing the Baton

Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live; be a pattern for them in your love, your faith, and your clean thoughts.                                         I Timothy 4:12 (Living Bible)

Relay races are exciting events. In a relay race, there are usually four runners on a team, each one designated to run a “leg” of the race. It takes speed, skill and amazing teamwork to put together a relay team.

The crucial part of winning a relay race, other than speed, is the deftness and agility in handing off the baton. In order to do this, the runner with the baton must time his/her steps, without losing any ground, to slow down just enough so that the baton can be passed to the teammate running up behind them. Precious seconds can be lost if the hand-off is not near perfect. Dropping the baton means that the race is lost.

The analogy with leadership is much the same. One generation of leaders must learn how to efficiently and skillfully pass on the baton of leadership. That means that the baton holder must know when the time has come to hand off the baton. Doing so too quickly or too slowly can mean serious problems for an organization. Knowing how to slow down just enough to get the successor ready is crucial. Then, when the baton has been passed, the former holder must peel off and make way for the teammate who will now carry on.

We older leaders have, or are in the process of, handing off the baton. Our job is to make sure that we have done our part, and only then can we, (and we must), depart from the track.

There is an old saying that the Church is one generation away from extinction. We are to carry the baton of our faith and successfully hand it off to the next generation so that the Kingdom can continue and prosper.  

Prayer: Lord, give us the wisdom and grace to hand off the baton well for future leaders, Amen

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