“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
(2 Tim 2:2)
The World Delegates Conference in 2011 aptly chose
Succession as its theme, reflecting the increasing consciousness that the True Jesus Church has come of age and is fast approaching her centennial in 2017. Adopting the same theme in this issue, three articles examine the intricacies of “passing the baton” and a fourth presents a case study of passing on the faith in the context of a local church.
Two veteran ministers share their views on succession. “Identify-Equip-Handover” outlines the approach of one writer. He highlights important traits of successors, emphasizes on training standards and finally notes that handing over is in itself an exercise in obedience. But succession is not just about passing on. As pointed by the second writer, it is about safeguarding the legacy of faith and ensuring the next generation are rooted in their beliefs and remain faithful to the truth. From the perspective of a younger minister, the exemplary conduct of his seniors must be matched with anchors in his generation, who like the biblical Isaac are obedient but not passive. The case study, replete with quotes from interviewees, opens to our view the uniting potential of faith in transcending generational and cultural barriers. Heart-warming and insightful at the same time, the study uncovers gaps and concludes that succession requires planning.
Articles complementing this issue’s theme include the Bible Study on 2 Timothy as well as insights from a young man who has just entered the secular workforce and is starting to understand what it really means to serve God.
Many forces work against proper succession. While inertia and indifference result in lack of successors in the spiritual workforce, unbridled ambition stands at the other end of the spectrum. “Thief of Hearts” offers a timely reminder to us as subjects of the Kingdom, that “God is the Ruler yet.” No one takes the place of God, no one should allow his allegiance to shift from the Divine to any human, and no one needs to lose heart. In the grand scheme of things, the heirs of God are those that are truly in Christ (Rom 8:17; Heb 6:17). No subversion will overthrow succession in the place where God reigns.