The Successor’s Mistake

One of the questions visiting pastors or seminar attendees frequently ask me is about the future plan of our church. The predecessor pastor Young Gi Chai had led the church this way and that way, they ask, and what his successor’s plans? I guess they ask this question because they want to hear something exciting and ambitious such as “we are soon to pursue this and that new plans.”

Well, I have been a person without a vision. One time, I was very disturbed with the fact that I, the future successor of Seoul Baptist Church of Houston, had no special vision. So, I asked pastor Young Gi Chai, “Do you think I am truly called by God to become a pastor? I do not have any vision.” Pastor Young Gi Chai told me, “It is natural that God does not give you a vision now. If you do have a vision that is different from mine, we might fight with each other. In God’s time, He will provide you with a vision.”His so wise and true advice greatly relieved my mind, and I stopped worrying about my lack of vision. This applies even now. Because I believe that now is the time not to pursue a new vision but to strengthen our church and ensure internal stability.

In many cases, the biggest temptation a successor faces is to remove any trace of his predecessor as soon as possible. The successor thus works with new people, starts new plans because he or she wants to create a new image that can wipe out the memory of the predecessor. This applies both for the church andfor society. But this is the stumbling block for most successors.Because of this temptation, any great things his or her predecessor had started tumble down; often, the successor ambitiously introduces quite overreaching new projects. In my opinion, the current difficulties ofa megachurch in Korea were caused by yielding to this temptation.

Right now, I do not feel any such temptation. My predecessor pastor Young Gi Chai had built such a beautiful church and left wonderful traces; I want neither to remove them nor to attempt new things. So, even if God intends to give a new vision for our church, I think this is not the time. If He does provide us with a vision now, I must feel the temptation. Accordingly, our current job is to strengthen our internal stability by reinforcing our current structure and systems. While we do our best in doing our jobs well, I believe God will do His work in His time. We are the people who live not by our dreams but by God’s dreams. God uses us for His work when we are ready. When we lay down our dreams and ambitions that tempt us again and again, do our best for our work, and hope for His kingdom and His righteousness, God will guarantee that our lives are not wasted.

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