A Map of Guidelines
I recently wrote, published, and launched a book called Healthy Endings: A Leader's Journey Through a Church Legacy Transition. You can check it out here. Several factors contributed to the writing of this book I feel are helpful to readers and potential readers of this short but powerful story.
If you read the book's introduction and a separate blog post I wrote about it, you realize this is a story that simply had to be told. But this is more than just a story that tells a sad tale that had a powerful kingdom ending, if offers a guideline for churches, leaders, and denominational entities that are looking for ways to navigate the troubling waters of legacy conversations.
It offers a formula for experiencing tough conversations. I wrote it in such a manner, however, that it would not be viewed as a step one, step two, step three code to follow. I believe in the elements it describes for leadership, but I also know that each congregational setting is going to be different and will require adjustments to when and how these "steps" will be used. Perhaps it can be viewed best as a map of possible paths to a destination.
The book and formula is more about principles than prescriptions. One of my favorite movies is the first of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. There is this "code" that the pirates claim to follow, but it is adjusted, tweaked, and sometimes ignored to suit whatever situation faced by those hilarious scoundrels. They would often say "stick to the code" and soon after say "they're more like guidelines." When it comes to the formula of the book's attributes for leadership and activities, they truly are more like guidelines.
The primary purpose of this book is to offer help. I also recognize that the leadership principles within might only appeal to small congregations. That is fine. If any of the applications are used by any leaders in their settings regardless of context, the better they will be equipped to serve their flocks.
I wrote this book not just because it was requested and inspired. Going through the legacy process is challenging at best, heart-wrenching at worst. To lead people through this is something that has precious few resources to turn to for help. This book is one of those resources.
This is why I wrote it with a memoir flavoring. These were my experiences from my perspective and I wanted each reader to understand it from a personal experience point of view. Pastoral leadership is hard enough already. To lead a church through the "valley of the shadow of death" is exponentially harder. Help is needed. Guides to follow are most helpful no matter how closely you follow them. Healthy Endings is one I hope you will find useful.