Next Steps Part 2: Transition

by John Lepper, KBF Coordinator

Those who attended the recent Dawnings retreat held at Georgetown College experienced the best of experiential learning.  I, along with leaders from 15 churches, participated in this event.  We learned that Dawnings is not a program but rather, “Dawnings is a process that offers to help your church see the world and your ministry within it with fresh clarity and purpose.  Rather than offering a new program to try, Dawnings helps your congregation develop skills that can transform how your church focuses its ministry and missions efforts.” (Learn more at
Acts 9: 1-9 provided a biblical backdrop from which we were asked to reflect, pray and apply.  We practiced lectio divina with this scripture on several occasions. These verses describe Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road.   I experienced a breakthrough of sorts as we contemplated these verses.  The portion of this text that spoke to me was verse 5:  “But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”  I shared with my small group that these words have specific implication for me and for Kentucky Baptist Fellowship.  We are at a critical time now that we are experiencing a staff transition. Uncertain of our future, we need to move forward and in doing so, we will “be told what we are to do.”
Our staff transition is not unlike those which congregations experience during a pastoral transition. All organizations follow a general pattern after the loss of a significant staff member.  I shared the following thoughts with our Coordinating Council at their recent meeting:
An interim time is a time of transition.  Transitions are never easy and are often full of feeling and anxiety.  I have observed that in congregations as well as organizations, one thing always present is heightened anxiety. KBF’s transition, like those of congregations, provides us with numerous challenges:

  • Saying goodbye to former leadership and to the past.
  • Understanding and appreciating the history of KBF. In doing so we remember how God has blessed in the past successes and how God has walked with us during difficult times.
  • Re-discovering our identity. Transitions provide an opportune time to give some consideration to our reason for being.
  • Dealing with shifts of power. That may include dealing with conflict and how decisions are made. The departure of a staff member provides a vacuum and shift of leadership.  Conflict is often the norm as power shifts and as people become engaged in a power struggle.
  • Evaluating linkage to outside groups.  KBF, as with congregations, often relates to outside groups through a staff member.  Now that Josh Speight is departing, we need to decide which of these relationships need attention.

The Dawnings retreat is instructive for KBF during this transition. Dawnings has three major steps (seen visually as three interlocking circles): visioning, forming and engaging.  Dawnings helps congregations (and individuals) clarify their vision for God and how we can join God on this missional journey. The Dawnings process helps us deepen and better understand how God has formed us for service.  Having clarified vision and our formation, we then move to engage with purpose.  I found these steps to be vital for me, as an individual, and also for KBF as an organization.