At some stage, every leader will have to leave the position they are in. When you do so, try to strengthen the group you leave and the movement as a whole.
Don’t waste your experience
Very few people have the training and experience you have had as an activist, which enables them to have a big influence on society.
Your abilities are a valuable asset to the kingdom, which should not be wasted. The total number of activists for all causes in a country is very very small. The direction a country takes is influenced by the number of activist leaders and teams – not by the number of supporters. If the movement steadily grows over time we will ultimately win. If people just put effort into fighting the cause and then quit when they are tired or too busy, we will not grow stronger. We must build stronger leaders and organisations. Try to leave the organisation stronger than when you joined. Also try to keep growing yourself as a leader.
Seasons of your life
People go through different seasons in life – which have different opportunities. For example, as a student you can impact other students. Those who marry must give more time to their spouse. Parents must focus more on influencing their children. When children grow older, parents often have more time again for outreach activities. As a more mature person, you may have less free time, but more skills, money and experience to contribute. People who retire again have more time. Maybe you must stop or slow down now, but you will able to make more contribution again later.
How can I still help?
People leave leadership for different reasons. Your reason for leaving will influence how you can help in future.
- Busyness with new responsibilities:
– You can help in other ways, for example by giving money.
– Also there may be tasks you can do that don’t take up too much time such as writing an occasional letter to the newspaper. Pray for God to show you how you can make an impact in your new situation.
– You could commit to just help for example with a single campaign or event rather than to stay in leadership the whole year.
– You can encourage others who do have more time to join the movement.
– Use your new position as a platform to speak up on the issue.
- Moving to another city: Why not join or start an activist group in your other city? Give occasional support such as given talks to the other group.
- Leading in another organisation:
– Try to influence your other organisation to promote pro-life, pro-moral values and partner with your earlier organisation.
– Encourage them to start a public advocacy/current issues portfolio.
– Use your new position of authority to promote the cause. Open doors to supporters and close them to the opposition.
- Problems with organisation: Sometimes internal politics or personality clashes can cause people to leave a group. Find another organisation to work with, but don’t leave the movement.
- Emotionally drained by conflict on issue: Find indirect ways to help, for example with fundraising, praying for leaders, administration, bookkeeping that don’t drain you emotionally.
Help the organisation you left
- Write down what you have learned so your successor can use the information e.g. contact telephone numbers and methods of doing things.
– If you learned a lot, write a manual or an article on how to do the job you leave.
- Give feedback to the leader of the organisation you are leading.
– What did you learn that was helpful?
– Where was the organisation weak and could improve?
- Recruit new people to join the organisation you left.
– Whenever you find someone interested in a Christian values issue, encourage them to join an activist group that fits best.
– Give their contact details to the leader.
– Take them with to their first meeting to encourage them.
- Donate money as you start to earn more towards the cause. Activist groups have great influence with tiny amounts of money.
- Be available to help occasionally for example by giving a training lecture or talk. Possibly join the board of the organisation.
- Keep praying for their success.
Those who want to keep helping can always keep helping.
Keep developing as a leader
- Find mentors who can take you forward in the skills you need to develop.
- Find people to mentor who you can teach your skills. These could include new leaders in the organisation you are leaving. Phone them occasionally to find how things are going. This way you help grow the movement.
- Don’t just hope people will find you – go and find them.
- Read books on leadership by authors such as John Maxwell. Also read and stay up to date on issues you can act on.
Stay connected to the movement
The movement grows through networks of key influencers who work towards its goals.
- Stay on activist email lists.
- Attend occasional events such as conferences or annual general meetings when can.
- Update others you know with your new email and telephone contact details.
- Maintain and build a network of contacts of key people in the movement.
- Try to connect new people with motivation and skills to other leaders in the movement.
- Go visit your old organisation occasionally to encourage them and renew contacts.