You are called and equipped to fulfill the role using your God-given abilities in a unique way that will cause you to depend upon Him. Don’t let the temptation to be more like your predecessor creep in when you hear the accolades heaped upon that person by others. It’s okay that you are different from him/her and possess different gifts. The goal is to please Christ rather than to be a people pleaser who fails to be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10), as 2 Cor. 5:9b states “…we make it our aim to please Him.”
On three occasions during my ministerial career, I have accepted employment positions in which I was replacing a beloved, gifted, and celebrated person. One of those was a senior pastor, and another was a director of a residential facility. Most recently, however, I’ve followed a retiring pastor named Bob Greenwood who led the biblical counseling ministry at Grace Fellowship Church. Bob has served his local church faithfully for over 15 years in vocational ministry after working many years in non-ministry management positions. He is a capable man whom God has been using in the lives of many at GFC. He is a faithful minister and those who have received counsel from Bob love Bob, and for good reason. He is the epitome of a good shepherd as described in 1 Peter 5:2-4:
Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
You may not know Bob’s name because he does not speak at large conferences, write books, or draw attention to himself. Instead, he prefers to stay in the background, praying fervently and intentionally, working hard to serve God by caring for the souls of those in his congregation, and teaching biblical counselors to counsel skillfully. In a culture that celebrates beginnings, I would like to celebrate how well Bob transitioned this leadership position to me because he finished well.