But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him,
for he shall go over at the head of this people
Dr. Andrew Rogers, M.Div., Ph.D. (Candidate, ABD), Assistant Professor and Program Director of Biblical Counseling at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky, ACBC Fellow and Board Member, and member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition Council, will be installed as the new Executive Director of Overseas Instruction in Counseling on Oct. 7, 2019. He will continue his ministry at Boyce.
Dr. Rogers comes to his new position with OIC following three and a half years of personal discussions and planning with the Board of Directors and with me and after one year of intensive transition-related activities. He comes to this new responsibility with a deep understanding of the mission and strategic objective of OIC—assisting in the initial creation and/or continuing development of national, culture-specific, biblical counseling certifying organizations—as a result of his frequent ministry with OIC as both an Associate Teacher in our Church Leadership Trainingprograms (Caspian Region, Jordan, and Utah) and as an Adjunct Faculty member in our Graduate Academic Degree programs (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Ukraine, and the Philippines). He has served OIC most recently as our Director of Academic Programs.
The Bible is filled with ministry leadership “transition stories”—from Moses to Joshua, from Joshua to the Judges, from David to Solomon, from Solomon to Rehoboam, from Elijah to Elisha, from Elisha to Gehazi, from Jesus to the apostles, from the apostles to church elders—and more. And all of us have witnessed or have been personally involved in ministry leadership transitions. Some of these changes, both from the biblical examples and from our more contemporary experiences, have brought about even greater glory to our sovereign God. Some of these shifts have resulted in heartache and loss for God’s people and His reputation.
Well, I’m not dead. And I’m really not all that old. (Stop laughing, please.)
But, I am a man who recognizes his limitations.
When OIC began in 2006 (when Susie and were already in our mid-50s), we established a series of four five-year plans. And because we recognize God’s sovereignty and His tendency to surprise us, we held all of those projections with open hands.
One of our ideas was that, after investing most of the first five years of this ministry in figuring out how to do it, we would ask the Lord to provide others to help us. We could not have imagined that by our 13th birthday we would have 21 missionary families representing OIC around the world.
That explosive growth exposed my weaknesses in the areas of the management and continuing development of a quickly-growing, much-needed ministry. While there may be one or two things that God has given me the grace and ability to do well, I certainly do not want my limitations to impede the progress of the worldwide spread of the biblical counseling movement through OIC.
What Was the Process?
In January 2016, just before OIC turned 10, I spoke with our board about my desire to begin the process of finding someone who could do a better job than I would do of leading this ministry into the future. Together, the board and I began to pray and to develop the profile of our next Executive Director. We fairly quickly identified not one or two, but three men who fit the qualifications we had defined. Something quickly became painfully obvious—I would be easy to replace!
I approached Andrew, our first choice, about this opportunity during that first quarter of 2016. Because of a variety of ministry, educational, and familial issues, his answer was, “Not no.” It meant that while he would love to say yes, the timing was just not right at that time. So, I went back to our board. They wondered if I was convinced that Andrew was our man. Once I affirmed that to be true, we decided to wait for God to make the circumstances in Andrew’s life align with our desire to have him lead this ministry. Andrew and I began to have a series of “hang out” times, a concept that needed to be taught to this Midwestern-raised guy by that Central California-raised guy. And, about every six months or so, I would ask Andrew about his level of continuing interest in eventually leading this ministry. Without any of our team members knowing the reason, I asked Andrew to be the opening speaker at our Missionary Training Conference (MTC) in Jacksonville, Florida, in October of 2017. Andrew became our Director of Academic Programs and, in that role, also spoke at our 2018 MTC in Fort Worth, Texas.
In His perfect timing, God did change Andrew’s life circumstances. So, at last year’s ACBC Annual Conference, we began a very intense one-year period of transition.
Having studied the aforementioned examples of biblical leadership transitions and having witnessed the best and worst possible examples of this kind of event in churches, schools, and para-church ministries, I was desirous of offering our leadership team a plan that would provide the best chance for a seamless and helpful transition to the stewardship of our next Executive Director. However, as a result of our many conversations and even before I offered a first draft of a transition plan, Andrew demonstrated why we asked him to lead OIC—he suggested a categorized listing of the things we needed to handle. That document, which has grown to seven pages, has directed our conversations and decisions for a year.
There are certainly some changes coming to OIC!
Andrew has designed a new Director-level leadership structure that will greatly improve key areas of our ministry.
Susie and I will continue to serve Christ through the ministry of OIC. My new role, Director-at-Large and, at least for a little while, Chairman of the Board, will allow me to be a servant to Andrew and work in areas of my interest. But first, Susie and I will take a three-month sabbatical (January-March, 2020) to focus on some long-ignored projects around our house.
Our transition to Andrew’s leadership also includes a change of personnel on our Board of Directors, with three former Directors voluntarily offering their resignations so that three new members of Andrew’s choosing can take their places.
Do YOU Have a Role with OIC?
Yes! Your mission is to pray for OIC as we move through the final phases of our leadership transition.
And, if you are appropriately qualified and have a heart for training pastors in other nations, will you prayerfully consider joining our team?
Questions for Reflection
What elements of a leadership transition plan have you found to be most helpful? Conversely, what potential pitfalls should be avoided?